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L  I  E.  R.AFLY 

OF  THE 

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Of    ILLINOIS 


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<><  An  Oration  nKi.ivuRED  July  4,  187G,  at  Bkakdstown,  Ills., 


nv 


jr.    HlEn^i^-Y-    Shj^-vt". 


B  I<:  A  11  D  S  T  O  W  N  : 

rUIUJSlIKI)   AT  TIIK   OKI'ICK  ok  THK  "CASS  COUN'A'   MICSSKNtJEIi." 

187  6. 


I 


Entered  aceording  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1876, 
by  John  H.  Siiat,  in  the  ortice  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  Washington. 


^ 


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OF 


^^^^^W^  ^? 


n=r LLIXOIS  dates  its  white  settlements  among  the  first  in  North 
'^mm^,  America.  Four  years  prior  to  the  settlement  of  Plymouth, 
Le  Caron  had  explored  Upper  Canada ;  and  twenty  years  later  the 
hardy  and  ambitious  French  traders  and  voyageurs  and  zealous 
missionaries  had  erected  trading  posts  and  missions  along  the  rivers 
and  upon  the  lake  shores  now  within  the  jurisdiction  of  Illinois  and 
Wisconsin. 

At  that  period  the  surface  of  Illinois  was  much  lower,  geologi- 
cally considered,  than  it  is  at  the  present  time.  Since  its  creation, 
the  thin  crust  of  the  earth  has  been  undergoing  slow  mutations, 
breathing,  as  it  were,  by  centuries ;  elevating  and  depressing  in  the 
lapse  of  ages  under  the  influence  of  its  mighty  lungs  of  fire  ;  sinking 
slowly  and  imperceptibly  beneath  their  former  level  continents  and 
islands,  and  as  gradually  raising  others  above  the  waste  of  waters. 

While  the  countries  bordering  upon  the  Levantine  seas  have  been 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY. 


gradually  encroached  upon  by  the  water,  there  has  been  a  correspon- 
ding; rise  in  the  eartli's  surface  here.  Two  hundred  years  ago  the 
white  settlers  of  Illinois  navigated  the  Mississippi  and  Illinois  Rivers 
to  the  great  northern  lakes.  French  pirogues  and  Indian  canoes 
found  no  difficulty  in  passing  through  the  portages  of  the  North  to 
Hudson's  Bay.  The  routes  from  the  Mississippi  River — up  the 
Wisconsin  and  down  the  Fox  to  Lake  Michigan  ;  and  up  the  Illinois 
to  Chicago,  or  "  River  of  the  Miami,"  as  it  was  then  called  ;  or  up 
the  Kankakee  and  down  the  St.  Joseph — were  well  known  and 
navigated. 

Indeed,  but  a  few  centuries  since,  these  rivers  were  the  southern 
outlets  for  the  waters  of  the  great  lakes,  and  the  Illinois  penitentiaiy, 
near  Joliet,  now  stands  upon  a  ledge  of  rocks  over  which  a  great 
river  once  flowed  in  rapids  similar  to  those  of  the  Des  Moines  on  the 
Upper  Mississippi. 

In  the  southern  part  of  the  State,  at  that  point  now  known  as 
Tower  Rock,  this  great  river  was  dammed  up  by  a  wall  of  rock,  over 
which  it  fell  one  hundred  feet,  forming  a  cataract  of  such  volume  and 
height  as  to  rival  even  the  great  Niagara.  But  the  continual  wearing 
6f  the  water,  aided  materially  by  earthquakes,  finally  opened  the 
present  channel  of  the  Mississippi,  and  gave  an  outlet  to  the  ocean  of 
waters  that  lay  stagnating  in  the  swamps,  now  prairies,  above. 
These  are  the  two  great  natural  causes  of  the  present  agricultural 
productiveness  of  the  State  of  Illinois. 

Two  hundred  years  ago  northern  and  central  Illinois  was  inhabited 
by  two  powerful  nations  of  Indians,  the  Illinois  and  the  Miamis. 
The  Miamis  occupied  the  northern  part  of  the  present  State  of 
Illinois,  and  part  of  Wisconsin,  and  their  chief  town  was  upon  the 
IDresent  site  of  Chicago. 

The  Illinois  tribe  occupied  the  country  bordering  upon  the  Illinois, 
called  by  the  French  the  "River  Seignelay  ;"  and  all  the  country 
between  that  country  and  the  "  River  Colbert,"  or  Mississippi. 

The  principal  tribe  of  the  Illinois  were  the  Muscootens,  and  their 
town  was  upon  the  present  site  of  Beardstown,  on  the  east  bank  of 
the  river,  at  the  foot  of  Muscooten  Bay,  an.d  was  called  by  the  French 
the  "  Mound  Village." 

The  Peorians,  another  of  the  Illinois  tribes,  more  particularly 
occupied  that  portion  of  the  country  between  the  rivers,  having  their 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


town  on  the  west  bank  of  the  Illinois  River,  four  miles  above  the 
Muscooten  village,  upon  the  blurts  back  of  the  present  town  of 
Frederick.  The  present  site  of  Beardstown  was  at  that  time  an 
island,  surrounded  on  the  north,  east  and  south  bv  almost  Impassable 
swamps,  containing  dangerous  quicksands  and  quaking  bogs,  and 
which  could  be  crossed  only  in  canoes,  or  by  Indians  jumping  from 
hillock  to  hillock  of  the  turf  grass  with  which  these  swamps  were 
interspersed,  and  on  the  west  bv  the  Scignelay  or  Illinois  River.  The 
Indian  town  of  the  Muscootens  was  a  beautiful  place.  It  was  built 
upon  a  series  of  beautiful  mounds,  covered  with  grass,  and  partially 
shaded  by  tall  trees,  which  stood  like  sentinels  upon  the  hills,  or 
ornamental  trees  upon  a  lawn,  so  scattered  as  not  to  obstruct  the 
view  of  the  whole  town  from  the  river.  The  island  had  evidenth^ 
been  selected,  not  onlv  on  account  of  its  natural  lieautv,  but  for  its 
easy  defense  and  safet}'  from  enemies. 

By  two  bends  in  the  river,  forming  two  obtuse  angles,  the  allied 
villages  of  the  Peorias  and  the  Muscootens  stood  at  the  two  elbows, 
in  plain  sight  of  each  other,  the  broad  river  forming  a  straight  sheet 
of  water  between,  while  north  of  the  Mound  village,  and  in  front  of 
the  Peorias.  spread  the  wide  and  glass}'  surface  of  Muscooten  Bay,i 
separated  from  the  river  by  a  narrow  peninsula. 

Back  of  the  swamp  which  protected  the  rear  of  the  town,  was  a 
wide  belt  of  rich  prairie  bottom  land,  and  be^'ond,  six  miles,  loomed 
up  the  Sangamon  Bluffs,  looking  like  miniature  Andes  in  the  distance, 
between  which  and  the  island,  in  the  day  time,  all  approaching  foes 
could  be  dim^rned. 

Tliis  island  town  was  a  favorite  resting  place  w'ith  the  tired 
voyageurs  and  devout  missionaries  ;  a  large  cross  was  erected  here, 
and  friendly"  relations  established  between  the  "  children  of  the 
forest "  and  the  white  men.  This  favoritism  on  the  part  of  the  French 
towards  the  Illinois  Indians  excited  the  jealousies  of  the  Miamis, 
and  they  determined  upon  revenge.  In  vain  did  the  missionaries  try 
to  prevent  animosities.  The  Miamis  invaded  the  countiy  of  the 
Illinois,  and  took  some  prisoners.  At  this  time,  the  Chevalier  La 
Salle,  who  had  built  a  fort  called  Creve  Coeur,  or  the  "Broken 
Heart,"  where  the  present  cit}-  of  Peoria  now  stands,  in  order  to 
prevent  further  hostilities,  made  a  journey  alone  down  the  river  to 
the  Muscooten  village,  but  his  efforts  were  without  avail,  and  the  war 
continued. 


4  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 

I 

The  Muscootens  believed  that  La  Salle  was  acting  as  a  spy  for  { 
the  Iroquois,  whose  chief  town  was  then  where  Buffalo,  N.  Y.,  now 
is,  and  who  were  the  most  powerful  Indian  nation  upon  the  continent. 
This  impression  seemed  to  be  confirmed  when  it  became  known  to 
them  that  the  Iroquois  and  Miamis  had  formed  an  alliance  for  the 
purpose  of  exterminating  them. 

Man}-  battles  were  fought  between  these  hostile  nations,  but,  by 
the  superior  numbers  of  their  enemies,  the  Illinois  were  worsted  and 
besieged  in  their  towns.  The  Peorias  fortified  themselves  with 
earthworks  upon  the  bluffs  at  their  village,  and  passed  men  down  the 
river  in  canoes,  as  necessity  required,  to  the  Mound  village,  the  river 
beina:  protected  from  the  arrows  of  the  enemv  bv  marshv  ground  on 
one  side  and  the  bay  on  the  other,  which  forbade  their  near  approach. 

The  Muscootens  were  besieged  in  their  island  town.  Occasionally 
they  were  assailed  by  parties  of  their  enemies,  who,  more  courageous 
than  their  fellows,  crossed  the  swamps  in  the  night,  on  the  grassy 
hillocks,  with  the  help  of  long  poles.  On  these  occasions  fierce 
battles  were  fought,  and  none  of  the  daring  assailants  suiwived  to 
recross  those  trembling  hillocks.  At  every  defeat  the  Miamis  and 
Iroquois  became  more  enraged.  In  the  night  time,  when  out  of 
danger  from  arrows,  the  allied  Indians  cut  grass  and  small  trees,  and 
gathered  floating  wood,  and  began  building  a  causeway  across  the 
swamp.  "When  it  was  completed  they  rushed  upon  the  island,  and 
for  several  days  the  battle  raged  fiercely.  There  was  no  Cjuarter 
given  or  asked.  Death  was  dealt  out  by  unsparing  hands  on  both 
sides.  Thej-  had  been  rendered  doubh'  savage  by  hunger  and  dela^-. 
Their  revenge  had  long  been  at  usurv,  and  thev  were  now  satisfving 
principal  and  interest.  The  battle  temporarily  subsided  only  when 
the  combatants  became  exhausted,  and  was  resumed  when  rest 
brought  returning  strength  Those  who  from  fatigue  were  unable  to 
rise,  were  scalped  and  tomahawked,  entering  from  the  dreamland  of 
life  to  the  dreamland  of  death. 

At  length,  exhausted,  and  overwhelmed  by  superior  numbers,  the 
Muscootens  began  to  fall  back  towards  the  river,  when  with  j^ells  of 
victory  their  allied  enemies  rushed  upon  them,  and  with  tomahawks 
and  scalping  knives  ended  the  battle.  A  few  of  the  unfortunate 
Muscootens  swam  the  river,  and  concealed  themselves  in  the  high 
swampy  grass  beyond,  and  a  small  number  fled  in  canoes  to  the 
village  of  the  Peorias.  The  women  and  children  were  taken  pris- 
oners. 


The  battle  being  over,  then  came  the  mourning  for  the  slain. 
Funeral  rites,  in  which  the  missionaries  took  part,  were  performed, 
and  in  the  great  mound  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  which  had  been 
raised  centuries  before  b}'  a  long  forgotten  race,  they  buried  the  slain 
warriors,  with  their  bows,  arrows  and  tomahawks,  together  with  the 
silver  and  flint  crosses  of  the  missionaries. 

After  these  ceremonies  were  concluded  the  Iroquois  returned  to 
their  own  country.  The  Miamis,  with  their  prisoners,  encamped  upon 
the  present  site  of  Chandlerville,  where  game  Avas  plenty,  and 
attended  to  their  sick  and  dying,  great  numbers  of  whom  did  not 
survive  their  wounds.  Their  dead  were  buried  in  the  bluffs  near  by, 
and  long  after  the  settlement  of  Chandlerville  their  ghastlj'  skeletons 
lay  in  white  rows,  exposed  to  the  sun,  laid  bare  by  the  action  of  the 
winds  upon  their  sandy  covering. 

Some  years  later  Mound  Island  was  taken  possession  of  b}'  the 
Kickapoo  Indians,  upon  wliich  they  built  their  village,  known  by  the 
name  of  "  Kickapoo  Town,"  although  still  remembered  bj-  the  French 
missionaries  as  the  "Beautiful  Mound  Village." 

This  became  a  favorite  trading  post  and  missionarj'  station,  and 
continued  in  the  possession  of  the  Kickapoos  until  its  settlement  by 
Thomas  Beard,  in  1820,  after  whom  the  present  city  of  Beardstown 
was  named. 

Forty  years  ago  the  great  mound  in  Beardstown  began  to  be 
encroached  upon  by  the  spade  and  pickaxe  of  the  avaricious  white 
man. 

The  decaying  bones  of  the  red  warriors,  as  the}'  lay  in  their  quiet 
and  lovely  resting  place,  with  the  implements  of  war  around  them  ; 
the  silver  and  flint  crosses  of  the  missionaries ;  even  the  beautiful 
mound  itself,  which  as  an  ornament  to  the  river,  and  a  historic 
feature  of  the  town  should  have  been  held  sacred,  could  not  restrain 
the  money  making  white  man  from  destroying  it,  and  it  is  now 
recollected  only  by  the  old  settlers,  who  used  to  sit  upon  its  summit 
and  watch  the  passing  away  of  the  last  of  two  races — the  Indian  in 
his  canoe  and  the  French  voA'ageur  in  his  pirogue. 

Many  j-ears  ago,  at  the  request  of  a  3-oung  friend,  I  related  one 
of  the  incidents  of  the  above  narrative  and  put  it  into  verse  and 
rhyme,  which  is  as  follows  : 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


•  THE  LEGEXD  OF  MOXSCELA. 

I 

{     Far,  far  into  the  loner  ago,  and  upon  the  very  place 

I     Where  Beardstowu  stilnds,  there  lived  and  loved  and  died  a  noble  race. 

Wliere  pretty  lawns  and  spacious  streets  and  lofty  buildings  stand, 
,     Monscela's  Indian  ^illage  stood  upon  the  hills  of  sand. 

It  was  an  island  then,  and  round  the  hills  on  which  it  stood 

The  river  ripples  wandered  in  a  long  continuous  tlood ; 

While  over  all  the  tall  oaks  waved  in  foliage  bright  and  green. 

And  the  trees  and  tents  were  mirror'd  on  the  broad  and  glassy  stream. 

Far  above  the  stars  were  shining,  bathed  in  clouds  of  silvry  light. 
And  the  gentle  breeze  of  summer-da}-  had  slumbered  into  night: 
The  murmur  of  the  wavelets  tlowing,  and  hum  of  insect  wings, 
Fell  lightly  on  the  sleepers"  ears,  nor  waked  their  slumberings. 

Three  weary  moons  two  Indian  tribes  had  been  in  deadly  strife. 
And  Miamis  and  Muscoutens  had  yielded  many  a  life : 
•Till  the  allies  of  the  Muscoutens  had  left  them  all  alone. 
And  the  Miamis  besieged  them  upon  their  island  home. 

Slowly,  at  night,  across  the  waters  upon  the  southern  side, 

The  Miamis  were  paddling  up  their  canoes  against  the  tide; 

While  in  advance  of  every  boat  was  held  a  branching  bough. 

Which  from  the  gaze  of  watching  eyes  might  shield  the  advancing  prow. 

Upon  the  island,  faint  and  tired,  the  Muscoutens  lay  at  rest. 

All  witless  of  the  coming  foe  as  the  flowers  which  they  pressed : 

They  had  fought  them  day  hy  day;  their  watclifires  burning  night  by  night. 

Until  glimmered  on  their  ashen  beds  the  last  faint  rays  of  light. 

Just  as  the  distant  glittering  beams  that  led  the  morning  sun 
Sat  lightly  on  the  yellow  knobs  of  the  bluffs  of  Sangamon. 
A  3'ell  as  of  a  thousand  fiends  fell  on  tlie  startled  ears. 
And  sleepers  woke  to  sleep  again  pierced  by  the  foemen's  sjiears. 

Monsojla  then.  Muscouten's  Chief,  raised  high  the  battle  cry, 
And  bade  his  warriors  follow  him  and  win  the  figlit  or  die : 
Now  on  the  left,  now  on  the  right,  his  ponderous  war-club  fell. 
And  many  an  Indian  skull  crushed  he.  and  stifled  manj-  a  \-ell. 

Now  backward  borne,  now  pressing  on,  Muscouten's  wavering  braves 
Proved  that  the  blood  that  nerved  their  arms  was  never  meant  for  slaves ; 
'Till  overjiowered.  and  rank  by  rank  fell  weltering  in  their  blood, 
The  brave  Monsula  fought  alone  amidst  the  crimson  flood. 

Tiien  the  old  chiefs  daughter,  Wliite  Wing,  ran  through  the  rift  of  spears: 
"i'liougii  gentle  as  a  fawn,  th.it  day  she  sliowed  no  childish  fears : 
Pierced  to  the  heart,  into  his  arms  she  threw  herself,  a  shield, 
He  grasped  her  lifeless  form  and  slowly  bore  her  from  the  field. 


2 


Where  the  golden  grass  was  waving  on  the  river's  western  shore, 
Monsffla's  birchen  shallop  touched  the  flowery  bank  once  more; 
Tliere  oft  before  the  same  proud  chief  had  pushed  his  light  canoe, 
Witli  warriors  in  sinewj'  keels — three  hundred  brave  and  true. 

Near  two  hundred  years  have  entered  into  the  dreamy  past 
Since  tlie  chief  of  tlie  Muscoutens  on  his  village  looked  the  last — 
One  longing,  lingering  look  he  gave  toward  his  island  home, 
Then  drew  his  mantle  round  him  and  wandered  forth  alone. 

In  1700,  Illinois  was  a  part  of  the  territory  owned  by  the  French 
government,  and  w^as  called  New  France. 

In  1720,  all  the  countrj- west  of  the  Mississippi  River  belonged  to 
Spain,  with  Santa  Fe  as  its  capital. 

In  1763,  Illinois  was  ceded  bj-  France  to  Great  Britain,  after  a 
"  seven  j'ears'  war."  Man}-  French  inhabitants,  rather  than  live 
under  British  rule,  joined  La  Clede  and  settled  St.  Louis. 

')  In  1778,  the  Illinois  country  was  conquered  from  Great  Britain 
by  troops  from  the  State  of  Virginia,  under  the  command  of  General 
George  Rogers  Clark,  which  was  an  independent  military  enterprise 
of  that  State  Nand  on  the  4th  day  of  July  of  that  year.  Gen.  Clark 
and  his  troops  took  possession  of  Kaskaskia,  the  capital  of  the 
British  possessions  west  of  the  Alleghenies,  and  declared  the  Illinois 
countr}'  free  and  independent  of  Great  Britain,  thus  making  the  4th 
day  of  July  the  natal  da}'  of  this  State  as  well  as  of  our  nation. 

In  that  year,  Illinois  was  created  a  county  of  Virginia,  and  Tim- 
^  othy  Dernanbrun  was  appointed  by  the  governor,  Patrick  Henry,  a 
y  justice  of  the  peace,  to  rule  over  it ;  which  was  probably  the  most 
extensive  territorial  jurisdiction  that  a  magistrate  ever  had. 

In  1794,    the  Legislature  of  the  Northwest  Territory  divided  it 
into  two  counties,  Randolpli  and  St.  Clair. 
'  In  1809,  Illinois  was  declared  a  separate  territory. 
In  1812,  Madison  County  was  organized  from  St.  Clair,  and  then 
■    contained  all  of  the  present  State  north  of  St.  Clair  and  Randolph. 
In  1818,  Illinois  was  admitted  into  the  Union  as  the  twenty-second 
State. 

In  1821,  Green  County  was  formed  from  Madison  County. 
/  In  1823,  Morgan  County  was  formed  from  Green  County. 
'   In  1837,  Cass  County  was  formed  from  Morgan  County. 
During  the  first  quarter  of  the  present  century,  immigration  to 
the   Illinois   country  had   been   retarded   by  frequent   earthquakes ; 
indeed,  from  1811  to  1813  they  were  as  severe  as  ever  happened  on 


this  continent,  and  the  few  of  the  settlers  here  were  in  constant  dread 
from  these  disturbances.  -^  New  Madrid,  a  flourishing  town  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Ohio,  was  utterly  destroyed  and  swallowed  up.  But  in 
1825  the  Erie  Canal  was  completed,  and  steamboats  had  been  intro- 
duced upon  the  Mississippi  and  its  tributaries,  and  immigi-ation 
received  a  new  impulse  and  flowed  in  A'igorously.  This  immigration 
excitement  was  called  on  the  other  side  of  the  mountains,  the  "west- 
ern fever ;"  and  it  carried  many  a  good  man  off — west. 

In  1818,  a  man  by  the  name  of  Pullam  settled  upon  Horse  Creek, 
a  tributary  of  the  Sangamon,  and  later,  in  November  of  that  year, 
another  man,  by  the  name  of  Seymour  Kellogg,  was  the  first  settler 
in  the  country  comprised  afterwards  in  the  count}*  of  Morgan,  and  it 
was  at  his  house  that  the  first  white  child  of  the  Sangamon  country 
was  born. 

The  first  actual  and  permanent  white  settler  within  the  limits  of 
the  present  city  of  Beardstown,  was  Thomas  Beard,  who  came  here 
on  horseback  when  it  was  a  Kickapoo  village,  in  1819,  and  made  it 
his  home  for  some  time  as  a  trader  among  the  Indians. 

Martin  L.  Lindsley,  together  with  his  wife  and  two  children,  John 
C.  and  Mary  A.,  and  Timothy  Harris  and  John  Cettrough,  settled 
here  in  1S20.  These  settlers  located  afterward  in  -Camp  Hollow."  a 
short  distance  east  of  the  site  of  the  present  county  farm,  where  Mr. 
Lindslev  built  a  cabin,  and  the  first  white  child  born  in  this  immediate 
vicinity  was  added  to  his  family. 

Dm-ing  the  year  1820,  a  family  named  Eggleston  settled  on  the 
site  of  Beardstown. 

Major  Elijah  Hes,  now  a  resident  of  Springfield,  His.,  landed  in  1819 
where  Beardstown  now  is,  on  his  way  to  the  '-Keeley  Settlement," 
afterwards  named  Calhoun,  and  now  "Springfield,"  the  State  capital. 
He  says  that  at  that  time  there  was  a  hut  at  Beardstown,  built  of 
birchen  poles,  standing  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  but  unoccupied.  As 
the  Indians  lived  in  tents,  this  hut  was  probably  erected  by  the 
French  traders  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  before  the  landing  of 
Major  lies. 

Archibald  Job  settled  first  at  Beardstown,  and  then  at  Sylvan 
Grove,  in  the  edge  of  North  Prairie,  in  the  spring  of  1821,  sur- 
rounded by  Kickapoo  and  Pottowatamie  Indians. 

There  were  other  pioneers  settled  here  about  that  time,  whose 
names  I  have  not  learned. 

In  1821,  there  were  but  twenty  families  within  the  present  limits 
of  Morgan,  Cass  and  Scott  counties. 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY. 


In  the  early  years  of, the  white  settlements  here,  wheat  was 
unknown,  and  Indian  corn,  the  only  breadstuff,  was  exceedingly  hard 
to  obtain,  as  mills  were  scarce.  Jarvoe's  Mill,  on  Cahokia  Creek, 
was  for  a  long  time  the  only  one  accessible  to  our  pioneers.  In  1821, 
a  small  horse-mill  was  erected  on  Indian  Creek  by  one  Richard  Shep- 
ard.  Then  a  horse-mill  was  put  up  at  Clary's  Grove,  Menard  County. 
To  these  mills  the  boys  of  the  families  had  to  make  frequent  and 
tedious  journey's  to  procure  corn  meal  for  bread. 

The  public  lands  were  first  offered  for  sale  in  November,  IS 23  ;  so 
that  all  those  who  settled  here  previous  to  that  time  were  only  squat- 
ters on  the  public  lands,  and  could  hardly  be  termed  permanent 
settlers.  In  fact,  Thomas  Beard,  and  his  friends  who  lived  with  the 
Indians  at  Kickapoo  village,  were  merely  squatters,  dependent  upon 
the  Indians  for  the  privilege  of  erecting  their  huts. 

The  first  land  entry  was  made  b}'  Thomas  Beard  and  Enoch  C. 
March,  jointly,  who  entered  the  northeast  quarter  of  15,  18,  12,  Sept. 
23,  1826.  It  was  upon  this  quarter  section  that  Mr.  Beard's  cabin 
was  built.  On  the  28th  day  of  October,  1827,  Beard  and  March 
entered  the  northwest  quarter  of  15, 18, 12,  which  extended  their  river 
front  down  below  the  mound.  Thomas  Beard  individually  entered 
the  west  half,  southwest,  15,  18,  12,  October  10,  1827;  and  John 
Knight  entered  the  east  half,  southwest,  15,  18,  12,  July  17,  1828. 
Thus  there  were  three  men  entered  the  entire  section  upon 
which  the  original  town  of  Beardstown  was  located,  in  the  years 
1826,  1827  and  1828.  So  j'ou  will  see  that  the  stories  current  that 
Beardstown  was  laid  out  in  1824,  and  that  the  site  was  bought  by 
Beard  and  March  for  twenty-five  dollars,  are  not  founded  on  record 
evidence. 

The  fact  is,  that  the  original  town  of  Beardstown,  consisting  of 
23  blocks,  fronting  on  the  river,  three  blocks  deep,  reaching  from 
Clay  to  Jackson  Street,  of  which  block  10,  lying  between  the  Park 
and  Main  Street,  is  the  centre  one,  was  laid  out  and  platted  b}'  Enoch 
C.  March  and  Thomas  Beard,  and  acknowledged  before  Thomas  B. 
Arnet,  a  justice  of  the  peace  of  Jacksonville,  September  9,  1829, 
and  is  recorded  on  page  228  of  Book  B  of  the  Morgan  County 
records. 

Among  the  first  settlers  in  Beardstown,  after  it  became  a  town 
site,  were  Francis  Arenz  and  Nathaniel  Ware,  who  purchased  an 
interest  and  became  joint  landed  proprietors  with  Beard  and  March. 
The  town  was  named  after  Thomas  Beard. 

The  very  first  deed  from  March  and  Beard  upon  record,  of  lands 


10  HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OI'    CASS    COUNTY. 

within  the  present  limits  of  Beardstown,  was  niatle  before  the  town 
was  k^id  out,  and  is  dated  August  21,  1828,  to  "  Charles  Robinson, 
of  New  Orleans,"  for  the  consideration  of  $100,  being  for  a  "part  of 
the  fractional  part  of  the  N.  W.  qr.  of  Sec.  15,  in  town.  18,  12; 
beginning  at  a  forked  birch  tree  on  the  Illinois  river  bank,  marked  as 
a  corner,  running  thence  down  the  river  meanders  thereof,  so  as  to 
make  two  hundred  j^ards  on  a  strait  line,  and  from  thence  running  out 
from  the  river  at  both  ends  of  the  above  line  by  two  parallel  lines, 
until  they  strike  the  north  line  of  the  E,  hf.  of  the  S.  W.  qr.  of  Sec. 
15,  18,  12,  supposed  to  contain  12  acres." 

And  immediatel}'  following  this  deed  upon  the  record  is  this 
singular  "  deed  of  defeasance,"  executed  by  Charles  Robinson. 

DEED  OF  DEFEASANCE. 

'"I  having  this  day  bought  of  Enoch  C.  March  and  Thomas  Beard  and 
his  wile  Sarah  a  piece  of  land  on  the  river  below  the  ferr\'  of  tlie  above 
Beard  and  have  this  day  rec'd  from  them  a  deed  for  the  same  I  hereby 
declare  that  it  is  mv  intention  to  do  a  public  business  on  the  said  land 
between  this  date  and  the  first  day  of  Oct.  next  year  and  if  I  have  not  upon 
the  land  by  that  date  persons  and  propertj^  to  effect  the  same  or  actually 
upon  the  way  to  do  so  I  will  return  the  above  deed  and  transfer  back  the 
land  to  them  upon  receiving  the  consideration  given  them  for  the  same. 
The  above  public  business  means,  a  steam  mill,  distiller}'  rope  walk  or 
store.     Witness  my  hand  and  seal  this  21  daj-  of  Aug  1828. 

(Signed)  ^^  CHARLES  ROBIXSOX.     [seal.]"' 

Acknowledged  August  1,  1828,  before  Dennis  Rockwell,  Clerk  of 
Morgan  Circuit  Court;  recorded  June  29,  1829,  Book  B,  deeds, ISO. 
This  land  is  part  of  the  original  town  of  Beardstown.  * 

Mr.  Charles  Robinson,  party  to  these  deeds,  still  lives  in  this 
county,  near  Arenzville.  On  the  8th  of  February,  1872,  he  wrote  a 
letter  to  the  Chicago  Journal,  from  which  I  make  this  extract : 

"Fifty  years  ago,  or  in  the  summer  of  1821,  there  was  not  a  bushel  of 
corn  to  be  had  in  Central  Illinois.  My  father  settled  in  that  yea,v  twentj'- 
three  miles  west  of  Springfield.  We  had  to  live  for  a  time  on  venison, 
blackberries,  and  milk,  while  the  men  were  gone  to  Egypt  to  harvest  and 
procure  breadstutfs.  The  land  we  improved  was  surveyed  that  summer, 
and  afterwards  bought  of  tlie  government,  the  money  being  raised  by 
sending  beeswax  down  the  Illinois  river  to  St.  Louis  in  an  Indian  canoe. 
Dressed  deer  skins  and  tanned  hides  were  then  in  use.  and  we  made  one 
piece  of  cloth  out  of  nettles  instead  of  flax.  Cotton  matiu-ed  well  for  a 
•decade,  until  the  deep  snow  of  1830.*" 

The  southern  part  of  the  State,  referred  to  by  Mr.  Robinson  as 


HISTORICAL   SlvETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


11 


Eg3'pt,  received  this  appellation,  as  here  indicated,  because,  being 
older,  better  settled  and  cultivated,  it  "  gathered  corn  as  the  sand  of 
of  the  sea,"  and  the  immigrants  of  the  central  part  of  the  State, 
after  the  manner  of  the  children  of  Israel,  in  their  wants,  went 
"thither  to  buy  and  bring  from  thence  that  they  might  live  and  not 
die." 

Reddick  Horn,  a  Methodist  minister,  settled  at  Beardstown  about 
1823,  and  entered  eight}'  acres  near  by,  afterward  making  entries 
near  the  blutf. 

The  Cottonwood  School-house  was  built  in  1830,  in  the  Sangamon 
Bottom,  and  is  now  knoAvn  bj'  that  name. 

The  exact  date  of  each  arrival  of  the  settlers  is  very  hard  to 
obtain,  as  those  of  them  now  living  differ  in  their  recollections  of 
those  who  have  precedence  ;  but,  by  taking  a  conspicuous  event,  such 
for  instance  as  the  deep  snow,  which  occurred  in  the  winter  of  1830-31, 
it  becomes  more  easv  to  decide  who  then  lived  in  the  ditierent  neigh- 
borhoods.  At  that  lime,  upon  the  Sangamon  Bottom  road  there  were 
the  following  named  settlers  :  The  first  above  Beardstown,  was  Solo- 
mon Pennv,  in  section  10,  18,  11,  where  Richard  Tink  now  lives. 
The  next  was  John  "Waggoner,  who  lived  where  the  Bottrell  farm  is 
now.  Above  him  were  the  Carrs — Elisha,  "William,  and  Benjamin — 
and  their  father  :  Elisha  lived  on  the  present  Kendall  farm.  Next 
above  the  Carrs  was  Grandpa  Horrom.  Then  Jerry  Bowen,  where 
Calvin  Wilson  now  lives.  Next,  the  Avidow  Stewart.  Next,  Shad- 
rach  Richardson,  on  the  present  Brauer  farm.  Then  Thomas  Plas- 
ter, sr.,  where,.c?eptha  Plaster  now  lives. 

These  were  all  that  then  lived  below  where  Chandlerville  now  is, 
on  this  road.  The  first  above  these  was  Robert  Leeper,  on  the  Cleph. 
Bowen  place.  Next,  "William  Myers ;  next,  Henry  McHenry ;  and 
in  their  order  above  him  were  Peter  Dick  ;  John  Taylor  ;  "William 
Morgan  ;  James  Hickey,  and  Amos  Ogden  ;  and  then  Isham  Reavis. 
who  afterward  moved  below  Chandlerville.  James  McAuley,  and 
Elijah  Garner  settled  in  1832. 

Among  the  earliest  settlers  in  the  vicinity  of  Arenzville  were 
Henry  McKean,  John  McKean,  Alexander  Pitner,  "William  Pitner, 
John  jMelone,  "William  McHenry,  James  Davis,  George  Bristow, 
Aquilla  Low,  J.  A.  Arenz,  Richard  Matthews,  Charles  Robertson, 
James  and  Christian  Crum,  Peter  Hudson,  Charles  "VN''iggins,  David 
Black,  Alexander  Huflfman,  Benjamin  Mathews,  "William  Summers. 
Andrew  "Williams,  and  Richard  Graves.    Most  of  tbese  persons  came 


12  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS   COUNTY. 

about  1830.  John,  Stephen  and  Jasper  Buck,  and  John  Shafer  were 
also  early  settlers.     John  Savage  came  in  1823. 

In  1830,  there  was  a  water  mill  built  at  Arenzville,  where  Engle- 
bach's  steam  mill  now  stands.  The  power  was  obtained  bv  chanofino- 
the  channel  of  Indian  Creek  full}-  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  from  its 
bed  where  it  now  runs.  There  is  the  site  of  an  old  Indian  town  and 
burial  place  on  Prairie  Creek,  about  three  miles  northeast  of 
Arenzville. 

Among  the  first  settlers  in  the  centre  of  the  count}-,  near  where 
Virginia  now  stands,  were  Capt.  Jacob  Yaples,  who  sat  out  the  first 
orchard  in  the  count}' ;  Henry  Hopkins,  Elijah  Carver,  Charles  Brady, 
John  De  Webber,  Thomas  Hanby,  George  Bristow,  John  Dawsy, 
Samuel  Way,  Charles  Brady,  William  Weaver,  Thomas  G-atton, 
Halsey  Smith,  and  a  preacher  named  Chambers,  and  others.  Some 
of  these  settled  as  soon  as  the  lands  opened  for  sale  at  the  land  office 
in  1823  ;  others  a  few  years  later. 

The  next  installment  of  settlers,  ranging  from  1827  to  1835,  were 
James  Stephenson  and  his  five  gi-own  sons,  Wesley,  James,  William, 
Robert,  and  Augustus  ;  Charles  Beggs,  Jacob  and  John  Epler,  John 
Hiler,  Rev.  John  Biddlecome,  Isaac  INIitchell,  William  Kiuner,  Jesse 
Allred,  Xathan  Compton  ;  John  C,  Peter  and  William  Conover ;  and 
a  widow  Pratt  and  her  four  sons — William,  Charles,  Rogers  and 
Haramel. 

A  school-house  was  built  of  logs  in  this  neighborhood  in  1829. 
Samuel  Thompson  built  a  horse-mill  in  1830.  James  Richardson 
built  the  first  blacksmith  shop  in  1826.  Peter  Conover  and  Elizabeth 
Marshall  were  the  first  to  marry  here,  which  was  in  1827.  The  south- 
east part  of  the  county  was  settled  early  by  James  Davis,  who  made 
an  improvement  on  the  tract  now  owned  by  Travis  Elmore,  at  the 
head  of  Little  Indian  Creek.  He  sold  out  to  Strawder  Ball,  and  he 
to  Isaac  Bennett.  Bennett  sold  to  Rev.  Joshua  Crow,  who  entered 
the  land  in  1826.  Joshua  Crow  entered  other  lands  in  this  vicinity 
as  early  as  1823.  Eli  Cox  settled  here  as  early  as  1820,  in  Cox's 
Grove,  so  named  from  him.  William  Cooper,  a  negro  with  a  white 
wife,  settled  here  also  ;  and  Stephen  Short,  with  his  four  sons,  James, 
Benjamin,  George  and  Albert.  Stephen  Lee,  Tilman  Hornbuckle, 
and  Dr.  Stockton,  settled  in  Panther  Grove  in  1830.  John  Miller, 
James  Thompson  and  Daniel  Blair  settled  near  by  on  the  prairie. 
Stephen  Short  was  first  justice  of  the  peace.  Rev.  William  Crow 
first  preacher. 

Further  north,  on  the  east  side  of  the  county,  among  the  first 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS   COUNTY. 


13 


settlers  were  George  and  John  Wilson,  in  1824  ;  "William  Daniels,  in 
1825  ;  Bartlett  Conyers,  John  Lucas,  John  B.  Wittj-  and  Robert 
Hawthorn,  in  1826.  The  first  child  born  in  this  neii;hborhood  was 
Lucinda  Daniels,  in  1828.  The  first  marriage  was  Miles  Hamilton 
and  Barbara  Baeger.  On  the  north  side  of  the  county,  on  and  near 
the  Sangamon  Bottom,  the  first  settlers  were  Amos  Ogden,  in  1830, 
who  built  a  house  of  hewn  logs  in  1831,  and  rode  three  da3's  to  get 
eight  men  to  help  him  to  raise  it.  The  men  he  got  were  those  other 
old  settlers :  Joseph  Hickey,  James  Watkins,  John  Hickey,  James 
Hicke}',  Isham  Reavis,  Daniel  Aturbury,  and  a  Mr.  Mounts. 

The  first  school-house  was  of  logs,  built  on  Amos  Ogden's  farm. 
The  first  blacksmith  shop  was  owned  by  Mathew  Holland  in  1835. 
The  first  mill  was  a  small  specimen  of  a  water-mill,  owned  by  James 
Watkins  in  1832. 

The  five  Dick  brothers,  William  Lynn,  Ishmael  West,  and  William 
P.  Morgan,  settled  here  in  1831  :  and  Dr.  Charles  Chandler,  Marcus 
Chandler,  and  Mr.  Ingliss,  in  1832.  Dr.  Chandler's  cabin  was  in 
the  centre  of  the  present  town  of  Chandlervile,  where  the  first  Con- 
gregational Church  now  stands,  the  land  being  subsequently  donated 
b}'  the  doctor  for  that  purpose.  South  of  the  Chandler  settlement, 
on  the  Sangamon  Bottom,  David  Clopton,  Robert  Leeper,  William 
Myers,  Oliver  Coyne,  William  McAuley  and  Mark  Cooper,  in  1831 
and  1832.     The  first  preaching  was  by  Rev.  Levi  Springer,     y; 


LIST  OF  ALL  THOSE  WHO  ENTERED  LAXD 

{i.  e.,  bought  from  the  government)  in  Cass  County,  Ills.,  including 
the  "three-mile  strip,"  before  "the  deep  snow,"  in  the  winter  of 
1830-31  ;  and  in  what  township  and  in  what  year  the  entiy  was  made. 
Where  a  person  entered  land  in  more  than  one  township,  his  name  is 
given  for  that  tract  only  which  he  first  entered. 


( ( 

( I 


IS,  12.  Thomas  Beard 1826. 

"      Enoch  C.March 1S26. 

"      John  Knight 1S2S. 

17,  12,  Freeman  Skinner 1830. 

Kimball  &  Knapp 1830. 

Asa  C.  New 1830. 

18, 11,  Henry  Summers 1830. 

"      Richard  Gaines 1830. 

' '      John  S.  Warfield 1830. 

"      EobertFarrell 1830. 

"      JohnFarrell 1830. 

' '      Temperance  Balder 1829. 


18,  11,  William  W.  Babb 1829. 

' '      Elred  Eenshaw 1830. 

18.  11.  Samuel  B.  Cre\vdson...l829. 
Solomon  Penny 1828. 

"      Benjamin  Carr 1829. 

' '      Amos  Hager 1S30. 

' '      Eeddick  Horn 1826. 

'•      ElishaCarr 1829. 

' '      John  Wao-ffoner 1829. 

' '      James  Scott 1829. 

17,  11,  Alexander  Pitner 1829. 

"      John  Thompson 1830. 


14 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY. 


17,  11.  James  Orchnrd 1826. 

'      Oswell  Thompson,  jr.  ..1830. 
'      Joseph  L.  Knkpatrick..lS30. 

'      Josepli  C.Christy 1829. 

'      Frederick  Troxel 1828. 

'      Peter  Karges 1 830. 

'      David  Black 1829. 

James  Smart 1827. 

•      John  R.  Sparks 1828. 

Aquilla  Low 1527. 

Abraham  Gish 1828. 

Charles  Robertson 1828. 

Peter  Taylor 1827. 

Martin  Robertson 1828. 

James  H.  Richards 1830. 

Jonah  H.  Case 1826. 

Daniel  R.  Scaflfer 1829. 

Thomas  Clark 18.30. 

David  B.  Carter 1S30. 

James  Davis 1826. 

Andrew  Williams 1827. 

Alexander  Huffman 1827. 

William  Snmmers 1827. 

L.  L.  Case 1826. 

John  Savage 1830. 

Dennis  Rockwell 1828. 

Aug-ustiis  Barber 1820. 

Joseph  P.  Croshwait.  ..1830. 

Thomas  Wiogins 1829. 

George  F.  Miller 1828. 

Henry  McKean 1829. 

Daniel  T.  Matthews 1828. 

John  McKean 1829. 

Daniel  Richards 1829. 

John  Cnppy 1830. 

Patrick  Mullen. 1827. 

Shadrick  Scott 1828. 

Benjamin  Matthews 1827. 

Samuel  Grosong 1826. 

William  S.  Hauby 1826. 

18,  10,  John  E.  Scott 1826. 

John  De  Weber 1828. 

A.  S.  West 1826. 

John  Ray 1826. 

Joshua  Crow 1820. 

Benjamin  Stribllng 1830. 

John  G.  Bergen 1828. 

Phineas  Underwood  .  ..1826. 
Henry  Madison 1828. 


18,  10,  William  Myers 1827. 

'•  Thomas  Gatton 1829. 

"  James  Mason 1829. 

"  Xathan  Compton 1828. 

"  John  Robertson 1828. 

"  Street  &  Bland 1827. 

•'  Susan  Washburn 1827. 

"  Henry  Traughber 1826. 

'•  William  McCord 1830. 

"  Robert  Alexander 1829. 

' '  Ral  ph  Morgan 1 830 . 

''  John  Biddlecome 1830. 

"  Zadoc  W.  Flinn 1829. 

"  Peter  Carr 1828. 

'•  William  Carr 1828. 

"  William  D.  Sturgis 1830. 

"  Shadrach  Richardson. .  .1830. 

"  Robert  H.  Iver? 1830. 

"  Josiah  Rees 1830. 

"  Joseph  Baker 1829. 

"  Thomas  Plaster 1830. 

"  William  Sewall 18.30. 

17,  10.  William  Chambers 1826. 

''  John  C.  Conover 1827. 

'•  Snsanna  Pratt 1826. 

''  David  Black 1830. 

"  James  Marshal  1 1826. 

"  Jacob  Ward 1829. 

••  William  Porter 1826. 

"  Jacob  Lawrence 1826. 

'■  Carrollton  R.  Gatton. .  .1826. 

"  Thomas  Gatton 1826. 

"  Archibald  Job 1826. 

'■  Peter  Conover 1826. 

William  Conover 1826. 

"  Abner  Tinnen 1826. 

"  Xathan  Compton 1826. 

'•  Joseph  T.  Leonnrd 1826. 

"  Bazaleel  Gillett 1830. 

"  George  T.  Bristow 1826. 

"  William  H.  Johnson.... 1830. 

William  Breeden 1827 

"  •  Peter  Taylor 1829 

"  John  Ream 1830. 

''  Samuel  Way 1828. 

"  Archer  Herndon 1827. 

"  Evin  Martin 1827 

James  Sturgis 1827 

"  Jonathan  Atherton 1830. 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF    CASS   COUNTY 


15 


17,  10,  Jacob  Yaple 1829. 

"      Alexander  D.  Cox 1826. 

"      Henry  Madison 1826. 

*'      James  Marshall 1826. 

•'      Jesse  AUred 1826. 

"      Isaac  Mitchell 1829. 

"      Thomas  Kedman 1826. 

Georgfe  Turenian 1827. 

"      Edward  Fuller 1830. 

Levi  Springer 1830. 

"      William  M.  Clark 1827. 

"      Georg-e  Freeman 1827. 

''      Thomas  Payne 1830. 

Lucian  T.  Bryant 1830. 

"      William  Lamme 1826. 

'•      Silas  Freeman 1828. 

"      Isaiah  Pasehall 1828. 

••      Littleberry  Freeman  . .  .1830. 

'•      Silas  Freeman 1828. 

19,  9,  David  McGinnis 1830. 

•'      Stephen  Handy 1830. 

•'      Tlios  Plaster 1828. 

'•       William  Linn 1830. 

•  •      Ptichard  McDonald 1S29. 

"      Wilson  Eunyon 1830. 

"      William  D.  Leeper 1830. 

William  Myers 1830. 

••      John  Taylor 1829. 

'•      Elias  Eog-ers 1830. 

"      Jesse  Armstrong 1830. 

IS,  9,  William  Holmes 1826. 

"      John  Lee 1830. 

'•      Joseph  Lee 1830. 

"      Eobert  Nance 1830. 

''      James  Fletcher 1829. 

17,  9,  John  Hughes 1827. 

'•      Susanna  Walker 1828. 

•'      Solomon  Eeduian 1826. 

•'      Henry  Kittner 1826. 

Martin  Hardin 1827. 

"      Josiah  Flinn 1826. 

"      David  Manchester 18.30. 

"      William  Miller 1826. 

"       Strother  Ball 1826. 

"      Samuel  Moutgomer}'. .  .1830. 


17,9, 


(( 

a 
i( 
k( 
(( 

(< 

(( 
ii 
U 

<; 

19.  8, 

(( 

(< 
18,  8. 

u 

(I 


ii 
<; 


17,  8, 


a 


Burton  Litton 1830. 

Page  A.  Williams 1826. 

Morris  Davis 1826. 

Josiali  Sims 1826. 

Eobert  Fitzhugh 1826. 

Jesse  Gum 1827. 

Thomas  Atkinson 1826. 

John  Vance 1826. 

James  Welch 1827. 

Eicliard  Jones 1826. 

James  Fletcher 1829. 

Andrew  Beard 1827. 

John  Bridges 1826. 

John  Creel 1827. 

Joseph  McDonald 1826. 

Gersham  Jayne 1829. 

Jonas  McDonald 1828. 

Anthony  M.  Thomas.  ..1S26. 

Alexander  Beard 1829. 

John  Eobertson 1829. 

Felix  French 1829. 

Eicliard  A.  Lane 1830. 

John  McDonald 1828. 

Isham  Eeavis . .  1830. 

Eobert  Taylor 1830. 

Wm.  P.  Morgan 1830. 

Samuel  Eeid 1828. 

Robert  Elkins 1829. 

Ealph  Elkins 1829. 

Henry  Williams 1828. 

Eaton  Nance 1828. 

John  Lucas 1829. 

Susan  Washburne 1828. 

David  Williams 1829. 

Joel  Ragsdale 1829. 

James  B.  Watson 1826. 

Wm.  Cooper 1826. 

Stephen  Short 1830. 

Wm.  Crow 1826. 

Lewis  Farmer 1830. 

Stephen  Lee 1830. 

Eli  Cox 1823. 

Eobert  Johnson 1828. 

G.  W.Wilson 1826. 

Wm.  T.  Hamilton 1826. 


These  make,  b}-  qounting,  212  persons  who  entered  land  in  what 
is  now  Cass  County,  previous  to  the  deep  snow. 


16  HISTORICAL    SKETCH   OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


At  this  early  date,  before  there  were  any  other  towns  than  Beards- 
town,  localities  were  known  by  other  names,  as  for  instance,  Robin- 
son's Mills,  Panther  Creek,  Miller's  Ferry,  Schoouover's  Ford,  North 
Prairie,  Jersey  Prairie  or  "Workman  Post-office,  Panther  or  Painter 
Grove,  as  it  was  called ;  Painter  Creek  Post-office,  where  Chandler- 
ville  is  now ;  Little  Painter,  Middle  Creek  Settlement,  Fly  Point. 
Sylvan  Grove,  Puncheon  Camp,  Lynn  Grove,  etc. 

The  winter  of  1830-31  was  a  remarkable  one,  and  will  always  be 
remembered  by  old  settlers  as  the  most  terrible  for  sufferino-  within 
their  memories.  The  snow  fell  at  first  about  thirty  inches  deep,  then 
the  weather  settled,  and  another  snow  fell,  and  another,  until  it  was 
from  four  to  six  feet  deep.  In  drifts  it  was  much  deeper.  Fences 
were  covered  and  lanes  filled  up.  There  was  much  sufierino-  everv- 
where.  Stock  died  for  want  of  food.  Deer  stood  in  their  tracks  and 
died.  Prairie  chickens  and  quails  having  alighted  in  the  snow,  could 
not  get  out.  Man  was  the  onlv  animal  that  could  walk,  and  o-ame 
alone,  of  the  food  kind,  was  all  he  had  in  plent}-.  That  could  be 
had  for  the  picking  up  from  the  snow,  for  it  was  helpless.  But. 
finally,  even  game  became  so  poor  from  starvation  that  it  was  unfit 
for  food.  The  snow  staid  on  the  ground  nearly  all  winter,  until 
March,  and  people  ran  short  of  every  thing,  particularly  fuel. 
Thomas  Beard,  recollecting  a  widow  with  a  small  family  living  at  the 
blufts,  generously  walked  out  there,  and  found  her  and  her  family 
on  the  verge  of  starvation,  and  hovering  over  the  last  remnants  of  a 
fire,  she  having  used  all  her  fuel.  Mr.  Beard  tore  up  some  fencing 
and  chopped  a  large  pile  of  wood  for  her,  and  afterwards  carried 
provisions  to  her  through  the  snow  on  foot,  a  distance  of  seven  miles, 
as  a  horse  could  not  travel. 

In  1831  the  Indians  became  very  troublesome  in  this  State,  and 
threatened  to  overrun  the  white  population.  They  were  led  by  Black 
Hawk,  their  chief  and  prophet,  who  pretended  to  have  power  given 
him  by  the  Great  Spirit  to  destroy  the  pale-faces.  He  attacked  the 
whites  with  so  much  vigor  that  militia  companies  were  formed  for 
self-protection.  A  battalion  of  this  militia,  of  275  men,  commanded 
by  Major  Israel  Stillman,  of  Fulton  County,  was,  on  the  14th  of  May, 
1832,  attacked  by  Black  Hawk  on  a  small  branch  of  Sj-camore  Creek 
and  badly  defeated  and  cut  up.  This  was  called  the  battle  of 
"  Stillman's  Run."  The  first  call  which  Governor  Reynolds  made 
for  troops  was  in  Ma}-,  1831,  for  all  able-bodied  men  who  were 
willing  to  fight  the  Indians,  to  the  number  qf  seven  hundred,  to 
rendezvous  at  Beardstown,  on  the  10th  dav  of  June.     On   that  dav 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY.  17 

they  assembled  iu  Beardstown  in  three  times  that  number.  Gov. 
Reynolds  organized  them  at  once  by  appointing  Joseph  Duncan,  of 
Jacksonville,  brigadier-general,  and  our  Enoch  C.  March,  of  Beards- 
town,  quartermaster.  March  was  equal  to  the  occasion.  He  was  so 
well  acquainted  with  this  vicinity  that  he  soon  furnished  the  necessary 
supplies.  But  Gov.  Reynolds  was  at  a  loss  to  know  how  to  arm 
those  who  had  not  brought  rifles.  In  this  emergency,  Francis  Arenz 
came  to  the  rescue.  He  was  a  merchant  in  Beardstown,  and  had 
previously  purchased  some  light  brass-barreled  fowling-pieces,  which 
had  been  manufactured  in  the  East  for  a  South  American  government, 
and  not  answering  the  purpose  for  which  they  were  made  they  were 
shipped  "West  to  shoot  birds  with.  These  answered  excellently  for 
arms  for  light  horsemen  and  skirmishers.  The  troops  were  encamped 
above  town,  where  the  saw  mills  now  stand,  until  they  took  up  their 
march.     In  their  ranks  were  some  of  the  best  men  of  the  country. 

I  will  relate  one  incident  only,  connected  with  the  Black-Hawk 
War,  to  show  how  it  affected  the  then  future  history,  of  at  least  a 
portion,  of  Cass  County. 

David  Epler.  a  resident  of  North  Prairie  in  this  county,  came  to 
Beardstown  to  purchase  two  barrels  of  salt.  He  drove  two  beautiful 
horses,  well  harnessed,  and  a  good  wagon  ;  altogether  just  what  Col. 
March  wanted  for  war  material.  He  accordingly  seized  them,  under 
that  law  so  universally  adopted  in  war  times,  that  ''might  makes 
right,"  and  took  them  from  Mr.  Epler,  nolens  volens.  But  Mr. 
Epler  refused  to  give  them  up,  and,  his  face  livid  with  anger,  declared 
that  he  would  defend  them  with  his  life,  and  that  the  colonel  and  his 
troops  would  have  to  walk  over  his  dead  body  before  he  would  give  up 
his  favorite  team  ;  at  least,  until  he  was  paid  their  value.  Col.  March 
then  offered  to  pay  for  them  what  two  disinterested  men  should  say 
they  were  worth.  This  was  agreed  to.  There  were  then  stopping 
in  Beardstown  two  comparative  strangers.  Dr.  Charles  Chandler  and 
a  man  named  Crawford ;  to  them  the  cause  was  referred.  They, 
having  come  from  the  East,  were  wholly  unacquainted  with  the  low 
prices  of  this  new  country,  and  priced  the  team  at  eastern  values, 
which  Col.  March  felt  in  honor  bound  to  abide  by,  and  tjie  consequence 
was  Mr.  Epler  got  S350  for  his  team,  which  was  a  large  price  then. 

This  incident  leads  me  to  relate  how  Dr.  Chandler  came  here. 
He  left  Rhode  Island,  where  he  had  a  good  practice  in  his  profession, 
and  a  new  house  which  he  had  just  built,  and  started  westward  with 
his  family,  with  the  intention  of  settling  at  Fort  Clark,  where  Peoria 
now  stands. 


18  HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUKTT. 

When  the  steamer,  upon  which  he  came  up  the  Illinois  River, 
arrived  at  Beardstown — the  hostile  attitude  of  the  Indians  in  the 
vicinity,  and  the  preparations  for  a  general  Indian  war,  induced  the 
captain  to  discharge  his  passengers  and  freight  at  Beardstown,  he 
thinking  it  unsafe  to  go  any  further  north  with  his  boat. 

While  here,  Dr.  Chandler  took  a  ride  up  the  Sangamon  Bottom 
with  Thomas  Beard,  and  he  was  so  well  pleased  with  that  part  of  it 
where  Chandlerville  now  stands,  that  he  determined  to  go  no  further 
north,  but  to  settle  there.  This  was  in  the  spring  of  1832.  The 
bottom  and  blufis  had  been  burned  over,  and  the  new,  fresh,  green 
grass  and  beautiful  flowers  had  sprung  up  :  the  trees  and  vines  and 
shrubbery  were  dressed  in  their  most  inviting  foliage,  and  he  had 
never  seen  so  beautiful  a  sight.  In  a  short  time  he  took  his  wife  and 
little  daughter  to  see  their  future  home,  and  they  were  equally 
delighted  with  it.  There  was  a  wagon  road  up  the  bottom,  winding 
along  the  bluffs,  in  about  the  same  place  it  now  does,  but  so  little  was 
it  travelled  that  it  had  not  hindered  the  fire  passing  over  it,  and  in 
the  middle  of  the  road,  between  the  two  horse-paths,  was  a  ridge  of 
green  grass  mingled  with  strawberry  vines,  which  looked  like  a  row 
of  cultivated  strawberries,  and  these  right  in  the  road  ;  the  doctor 
and  his  wife  and  little  daughter  ate  in  abundance  the  large,  ripe 
berries.  The  doctor  entered  160  acres  of  land  where  the  town  of 
Chandlerville  now  stands,  and  built  his  cabin  upon  the  site  of  the 
present  Congregational  Church.  He  broke  up  three  acres  of  land 
that  spring,  late  as  it  was,  and  raised  a  crop  of  buckwheat  upon  it, 
without  any  fence  around. 

There  was  a  universal  custom  among  the  settlers  at  that  time, 
that  ever}'  man  should  be  entitled  to  80  acres  of  land  on  each  side  of 
the  land  already  entered  by  him  until  such  time  as  he  was  able  to 
erUer  it,  as  it  was  called,  or,  in  other  words,  until  he  could  raise 
mone}'  enough  to  buy  it  from  the  Government  at  81.25  per  acre  ;  and 
it  was  considered  as  mean  as  stealing  for  another  man  to  enter  it. 

Shortly  after  the  doctor  had  settled  there,  a  man  stopped  there 
named  English,  lO  was  so  well  pleased  with  the  prospect  that  he 
concluded  to  ente.  land  and  settle  there.  The  doctor  assisted  and 
befriended  him  all  he  could,  and,  to  induce  him  to  stop,  oflJ'ered  to 
give  up  his  claim  to  one-half  of  the  80  acre  tract,  next  to  the  land 
that  English  wanted,  and  let  him  enter  it.  Ensflish  told  him  that  he 
was  going  to  Springfield  and  enter  the  lolwle  tract :  that  he  did  not 
care  for  the  customs  of  the  country* ;  and  that  he  was  going  to  have 
it  right  or  wrong,  and  started  for  Springfield.  All  of  Dr.  Chandler's 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY.  19 

expostulations  with  him  did  not  avail  anything.  The  doctor  went  to 
his  cabin  and  looked  over  his  little  pile  of  money  and  found  that  he 
had  fifty  dollars.  He  thought  that  his  neighbor  McAuly  had  some 
money,  and,  saddling  his  best  horse,  he  rode  to  McAuly's  house  and 
borrowed  fifty  dollars  more.  Thus  provided,  he  took -a  different  route 
through  the  woods  and  prairies  from  that  chosen  by  English,  and, 
putting  his  horse  to  his  best  speed,  started  for  the  Land  Office. 

When  about  ten  miles  of  Springfield,  he  overtook  two  young 
men  on  horse-back,  and  as  his  horse  was  foaming  with  perspiration, 
and  nearly  tired  out,  he  rode  slowly  along  with  the  young  men,  as 
well  to  rest  his  horse,  as  to  relate  to  them  the  cause  of  his  haste. 
"When  he  told  them  of  the  meanness  of  the  man  English,  one  of  the 
young  men  was  so  indignant  that  he  offered  the  doctor  his  own 
comparatively  fresh  horse,  that  he  might  make  all  haste  and  thwart 
the  efforts  of  English,  while  the  young  man  would  ride  the  doctor's 
horse  slowl\-  into  town.  But  the  doctor  rode  his  own  horse,  got 
safely  to  the  Land  Office  and  entered  the  land  before  English  got 
there.  Sometime  after  that  he  wanted  to  have  his  land  surveyed, 
and  the  county  surveyor  lived  at  Jacksonville,  but  a  neighbor  told 
him  that  there  was  a  better  surveyor  living  at  Salem,  in  Sangamon 
County,  named  Abraham  Lincoln.  So  the  doctor  sent  for  him,  and 
when  he  came  with  his  implements  to  do  the  surveying,  the  doctor 
found  that  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  survej^or,  was  the  same  young  man 
who  had  so  kindly  oflTered  to  lend  him  his  horse,  so  that  he  might 
defeat  the  rascalh'  man  English. 

Dr.  Chandler  was  the  first  physician  in  Central  Illinois  who 
adopted  quinine  in  his  practice  as  a  remedy  ;  the  first  who  introduced 
the  practice  of  the  infliction  of  bodily  pain  as  a  remedy  for  over 
doses  of  opium ;  and  the  first  who  opposed  bleeding  as  a  remedy. 
When  he  went  to  Sangamon  Bottom,  he  was  called  into  practice 
before  he  could  build  a  stable,  and  for  weeks,  when  at  home,  tied  his 
horse  to  a  tree  and  pulled  grass  to  feed  him  on,  having  no  scythe  to 
cut  it  with.  He  built  the  first  frame  house  within  the  present  limits 
of  this  county.  It  was  10x12  feet,  one-story,  and  aingled  with  split 
and  shaved  oak  shingles,  which  made  a  good  n  of  for  25  vears — a 
fact  worthy  of  notice.  He  built  it  for  a  drug  store  and  office,  and  it 
is  still  in  existence.  In  1836,  he  built  his  present  large  residence. 
His  reason  for  building  so  large  a  house  at  that  early  day  was,  that 
it  was  exactly  like  the  one  he  had  built  and  left  in  Rhode  Island  ;  and 
as  his  family  had  sacrificed    so  much   in  leaving  their  comfortable 


20  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


home  for  the  wilds  of  the  west,  he  wished  to  make  a  home  as  near 
like  their  former  one  as  possible. 

In  1833,  Jackson  was  president ;  John  Rej-nolds,  governor  ;  and 
Clay  and  Webster  were  in  their  glory.  Beardstown  was  quite  a 
flourishing  town,  and  the  port  on  the  river  from  which  most  towns  in 
the  interior  of  the  State  got  their  supplies  of  goods,  and  from  which 
their  produce  was  shipped  to  market. 

In  that  3-ear  Francis  Arenz  began  publishing  the  first  newspaper 
north  of  Jacksonville  and  south  of  Chicago,  entitled  "  The  Beards- 
town  Chronicle  and  Illinois  Military  Bounty  Land  Advertiser."  This 
paper  did  the  advertising  for  the  counties  of  Mason.  Warren,  Brown, 
Schuyler,  McDonough.  Stark,  Knox,  and  Fulton,  as  there  were  no 
newspapers  printed  in  those  counties.  There  were  no  lawyers  in 
Beardstown  then,  but  those  usually  consulted  by  our  citizens  were  : 
John  J.  Hardin.  Walter  Jones.  Aaron  B.  Fontaine.  Josiah  Lamborn, 
and  Murray  McConnell  of  Jacksonville,  and  William  H.  Richardson 
of  Rushville. 

In  1833,  there  was  not  a  single  merchant  north  of  the  Maimstarre, 
outside  of  Beardstown,  and  not  one  advertised  in  the  "  Beardstown 
Chronicle ;"  and  money  was  so  scarce  that  it  was  almost  impossible 
for  any  kind  of  business  to  be  transacted.  Francis  Arenz  humorously 
ascribes  the  phenomenon  of  the  great  meteoric  shower  of  that  year, 
to  the  fact,  that  a  day  or  two  previously  a  subscriber  had  paid  him 
two  dollars,  all  in  cash,  for  a  year's  subscription  to  the  ''  Chronicle." 

The  names  of  the  steamers  which  navigated  the  Illinois  River  in 
1833-34.  were  the  Peoria,  Exchange,  Ottawa.  Ceres,  Utility,  Cavalier, 
Express,  Black  Hawk,  and  Olive  Branch. 

James  B.  Kenner  kept  the  Bounty  Land  Hotel  at  Beard's  landing, 
on  the  west  bank  of  the  river,  opposite  Beardstown. 

Prices  of  staples  in  1833  at  Beardstown  were  :  Flour,  imported, 
per  barrel,  S4.2o  ;  wheat,  in  90  days,  per  bushel,  50c. ;  wheat,  cash, 
per  bushel,  -ioc. ;  salt,  per  bushel,  75c. ;  corn,  per  bushel,  12  to  16c.  ; 
beans,  per  bushel,  50c. ;  whiskey,  per  gallon,  46c.  ;  pork,  per  lb. 
2.  2.;  butter,  per  lb.  10c.  ;  beef,  per  lb.  2|c.  ;  cigars,  per  1000,  §1 ; 
.gars,  per  box,  best,  81. 

The  business  men  of  Beardstown  in  1834  were  :  Francis  Arenz, 
L.  W.  Talmage  &  Co.,  T.  &  J.  S.  Wilbourne.  J.  M.  Merchant  &  Co., 
Haywood  Read,  J.  Parrott  &  Co.,  merchants ;  John  Alfred,  M. 
Kingsbury,  and  Lisoomb  &  Buckle,  tailors  ;  J.  Roulston,  hat-maker ; 
Henry  Boemler,  cabinet  maker ;  M.   McCreary,  cooper ;  Malony  & 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS   COUNTY.  21 


Smith,  forwarding  and  commission  business.     There  were  also  :  Dr. 
J.  W.  Fitch,  Dr.  Owen  M.  Long,  and  Dr.  Chas.  Hochstetter. 

As  descriptive  of  the  business  of  Beardstown,  I  will  quote  the 
following  extract  from  an  editorial  in  the  "  Beardstown  Chronicle  " 
of  March  1,  1834: 

' '  Since  the  opening  of  the  river,  there  has  been  shipped  from  this 
place  1,502  barrels  of  flour  and  150  barrels  of  pork.  Ready  for 
shipment  at  the  warehouses  at  this  time,  581  barrels  of  flour,  400 
barrels  pork,  and  150  kegs  of  lard.  This  is  d  fair  commencement  of 
exporting  surplus  produce  from  a  country  where  a  few  years  ago  many 
of  such  articles  were  imported.  Two  steam  flouring  mills  and  one 
steam  saw  mill  are  now  in  operation.  A  large  brewery  and  distillery 
are  being  built,  with  a  grist  mill.  Besides,  arrangements  are  being 
made  for  building  ware,  store,  and  dwelling  houses.  Four  years  ago 
only  three  families,  residing  in  log  huts,  lived  in  this  place,  and  now, 
we  venture  to  assert,  more  business  is  transacted  in  this  town  than 
any  other  place  in  the  State." 

The  old  Brick  School  House  in  Beardstown,  now  a  part  of  Dr. 
Theo.  Hoffman's  premises,  was  built  in  1834,  by  Beard  .and  Arenz, 
and  presented  b}*  them  to  the  inhabitants. 

At  that  time  great  stress  was  laid  upon  the  navigability  of  the 
Sangamon  River,  as  boats  frequently  passed  up  and  down  that  stream. 
In  1832,  a  steamboat  of  the  larger  class  went  up  the  Sangamon  to 
within  five  miles  of  Springfield,  and  discharged  its  cargo  there. 

The  farm  houses,  just  previous  to  the  organizing  of  Cass  County, 
were  mostly  built  of  logs,  and,  in  many  cases,  innocent  of  glass. 
The  floors  were  made  of  puncheon  or  split  logs,  as  saw  mills  were 
few  and  far  between.  The  fire-places  were  made  of  logs  filled  up 
with  clay  dug  from  beneath  the  floors.  A  temporary  wall  would  be 
built  about  two  feet  inside  the  log  wall ;  the  space  then  filled  with 
earth,  and  wetted,  was  pounded  or  rammed  down  solid.  The  inner 
wall  was  then  taken  away  and  a  fire  built  inside,  which  baked  the 
jams  like  brick.  Then  this  was  surmounted  with  a  stick  and  clay 
chimne}-,  a  pole  was  run  across  to  hang  kettles  on  ;  and  the  chink,"  v^ 
between  the  logs  of  the  house  were  filled  up  with  sticks,  clay,  anu  , 
chopped  straw.  The  doors  and  roof  of  the  house  were  made  of 
split  boards,  and  frequently  not  a  nail  or  any  iron  was  used  in  the 
vehole  house.  The  roof-boards  were  kept  in  their  places  by  logs 
weighing  them  down  ;  the  doors,  held  together  by  wooden  pins,  hung 
on  wooden  hinges,  and  latched  with  wooden  latches.  The  houses 
generallv  had  but  one  room  and  two  doors,  but  no  window.     Usuall}', 


22  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTV. 

one  door  of  the  house  was  left  open,  no  matter  how  cold  the  weather 
was,  to  admit  light ;  and  rarely  both  doors  were  closed,  except  when 
the  famih'  were  about  to  retire  to  rest.  So  habituated  were  people  to 
open  doors  that  that  custom  prevailed  even  after  the  introduction  of 
glass  into  the  cabins,  for  windows.  It  is  related,  that  on  a  very  cold 
day,  an  eastern  man  who  was  visiting  a  friend  at  his  log  cabin, 
proposed  to  close  the  door  to  make  the  house  warmer.  The  pro- 
prietor expressed  his  surprise  at  the  proposition,  but  did  not  object 
to  try  it  as  an  experiment.  After  the  door  had  been  shut  a  few 
minutes,  he  seemed  much  pleased  with  the  result,  and  said,  "Well, 
I  declare  I  I  believe  it  does  make  a  diflerence." 
A  rural  poet  has  truthfully  stated  that — 

"  In  every  country  village  where 
Ten  chunnej's'  smoke  perfume  the  air, 

Contiguous  to  a  steeple. 
Great  gentle-folks  are  found,  a  score, 
Who  can't  associate  any  more 

With  common  country  people.'" 

So  even  in  our  early  days  we  had  some  aristocrats.  Occasionallj',  a 
man  was  found  that  built  his  house  of  hewn  logs,  and  had  sawn 
planks  for  his  floor,  and  perhaps  a  glass  window.  And  then  some 
ambitious  neighbor  must  over  top  him,  and  the  wonderful  palatial 
double-log-house,  with  a  porch  between,  appeared.  By  the  youngsters 
this  seemed  extravagant  and  useless  ;  but  the  surprise  of  eveiy- 
body  was  Dr.  Chandler's  large,  well-finished  frame  house.  Even 
beds  were  more  accommodating  then  than  now,  and  would  hold  many 
more  occupants.  There  was  one,  usually,  in  each  of  two  corners  in 
every  log  cabin,  and  under  each  of  these  was  a  trundle-bed  which 
2mlled  out  at  night ;  and  then  there  was  bedding  to  spare  in  most 
houses,  and,  when  friends  called  and  staj'ed  all  night,  which  they 
usually  did,  a  field-bed  was  made  that  accommodated  all.  "When 
meal  time  came,  a  large  amount  of  good  wholesome  provender  would 
be  supplied,  considering  the  few  cooking  utensils  that  were  used. 
Even  in  well-to-do  families  the  articles  for  cooking  consisted  of  a 
Dutch  oven,  in  which  first  the  bread  and  then  the  meat  was  cooked, 
a  coffee-pot,  and  a  kettle  to  cook  vegetables,  when  they  had  any. 
Wheat  bread  was  scarce,  and  corn  bread  was  universally  used.  When 
bread  was  spoken  of  without  a  prefix,  corn  bread  was  meant ;  any 
other  kind  being  designated  as  ivheat  bread  or  r^je  bread.  I  recollect 
a  circumstance  which  will  illustrate  how  corn  bread  was  respected. 
When  Major  Miller  kept  the  Western  Hotel  in  Jacksonville,  iu  1836, 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY.  23 

there  was  a  grocery  under  it  called  "  Our  House."  A  Yankee,  who 
had  been  stopping  Avith  the  Major,  called  into  the  grocery  to  get  his 
bitters,  and  outraged  the  thirsty  customers  at  the  bar  by  an  oftensive 
allusion  to  the  corn  bread  he  had  had  set  before  him  at  the  hotel 
table,  stating  amons;  other  remarks,  that  corn  bread  was  only  fit  for 
hogs  to  eat.  At  this  an  irritable  native  took  offence  ;  he  j)eeled  off" 
his  coat,  and  squared  his  brawny  shoulders  before  the  astonished 
Yankee,  and  said,  "  See  yer,  stranger,  I  don't  know  yon  who  you 
are,  and  I  don't  keer  a  durn,  nuther ;  but  I'll  have  you  understand 
that  the  man  that  makes  fun  of  corn  bread  makes  fun  of  the  principal 
part  of  m}'  living."  It  was  with  considerable  difficult}-  that  a  fuss 
was  prevented,  and  then  only  by  the  Yankee  apologising  and  treating 
the  crowd  to  the  drinks. 

While  speaking  of  Yankees,  I  might  just  as  well  sa}-,  that  this 
part  of  Morgan  Count}'  was  settled  principally  b}'  citizens  from  south 
of  the  Potomac  and  Ohio  Rivers  ;  and  a  strong  prejudice  was  felt 
against  people  from  New  England,  who  were  all  denominated 
"Yankees;"  and,  to  be  just,  candor  compels  me  to  admit  that  the 
representatives  of  the  descendants  of  the  pilgrim  fathers,  who  peddled 
clocks  and  tinware,  and  notions,  and  essences,  and  the  like,  through 
this  part  of  the  country  at  that  time,  were  not  calculated  in  every 
instance  to  inspire  any  high  respect  for  them  as  a  class. 

Fitz  Greene  Helleck,  the  poet,  writes  of  them  as 

•'  Apostates,  who  are  meddling 
With  merchandise,  pounds,  shillings,  pence,  and  peddling; 
Or.  wandering  through  southern  countries,  teaching 

The  A,  B.  C.  from  Webster's  spelling-book ; 
Gallant  and  godly,  making  love,  and  preaching, 

And  gaining,  by  what  they  call  "  hook  and  crook," 
And  what  the  moralists  call  overreaching. 

A  decent  living.     The  Virginians  look 
Upon  tliem  with  as  favorable  eyes 
As  Gabriel  on  the  devil  in  paradise." 

In  fact,  a  mean  trick  was  always  expected  from  a  Yankee  ;  while  there 
is  reason  to  believe  that,  reall}-,  there  was  sometimes  just  as  mean 
things  done  by  persons  from  other  portions  of  the  nation.  To 
illustrate  :  Nearlv  fortv  vears  a2:o,  I  attended  a  wolf  hunt  on  Indian 
Creek.  There  were  about  a  hundred  of  us,  on  horseback,  up  on  a 
rise  in  the  timber,  waiting  to  hear  from  the  hounds,  and  passing  the 
time  in  conversation.  The  subject  of  discussion,  a  not  unusual  one, 
was  the  Yankees,  and  each  man  had  a  storv  to  tell  of  some  Yankee 
trick.     Finally,  old  Uncle  Bob  Martin,  who  had  but  one  e3'e,  but  was. 


I 


24  HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY. 

nevertheless,  quite  an  oracle  in  such  matters,  had  his  say,  in  this 
wise :  "  Well,  gentlemen,  I'll  tell  yer  what  it  is.  I'A-e  seed  a  heap 
'er  Yankees  in  my  day,  and  I  know  all  about  'em.  I  know  'em  like  a 
book,  inside,  and  out,  and  I  tell  yer  what  it  is,  gentlemen,  all  the 
Yankees  don't  come  from  New  England  nuther,  not  b}'  a  durn  sight. 
And  the  meanest  Yankee  I  ever  seed,  gentlemen,  was  a  Kanetucky 
Yankee." 

I  said  corn  bread  was  the  principal  article  of  diet  then.  But  there 
were  various  kinds  of  corn  bread.  That  most  in  use  was  corn  dodger. 
This  was  simph'  made  of  corn  meal,  hot  water  and  a  little  salt, 
stirred  together  to  the  consistenc}'  of  dough ;  then  a  double  handful 
was  ronnded,  flatted,  and  placed  in  a  hot  Dutch  oven,  surrounded 
with  glowing  embers.  An  oven  would  hold  three  or  four  of  these, 
and  they  were  cooked  so  quickl}'  that  a  woman  could  keep  quite  a 
large  number  of  hungry  men  in  business.  Then  there  was  the  pumpkin 
bread,  made  b}'  mixing  pumpkins  and  meal,  and  the  pone.  This  last 
was  considered  suitable  for  kings,  and  I  must  tell  you  how  it  was 
made.  It  was  thus  :  Take  as  much  corn  meal  as  is  wanted  for  use  ; 
sift  it ;  put  it  in  an  iron  kettle  and  pour  on  it  boiling  water  ;  stir  it 
till  it  becomes  well  mixed  and  quite  thin ;  this  being  right,  let  it 
remain  in  the  same  vessel  till  morning,  and  if  kept  warm  it  will  be 
well  fermented  (which  is  necessar}')  ;  then  put  it  into  a  hot  Dutch 
oven,  it  being  heated  before  the  dough  is  put  in  it ;  apply  good  live 
embers  on  the  lid  of  the  oven  as  well  as  under  it,  being  careful  not  to 
burn  it.  These  were  sometimes  baked  in  hot  ashes  and  embers, 
without  an  oven.     These  were  called  ash-pones. 

Butter  was  not  common,  except  in  the  spring  and  summer ;  but 
large  quantities  of  fat  bacon  and  hams  were  used  instead,  which  were 
kept  the  year  round,  in  the  smoke  houses,  one  of  which  every  family 
had.  Potatoes  were  unkno'^n  for  many  years  ;  and  when  they  were 
introduced,  they  were  at  first  very  unpopular.  People  that  ate  them 
were  stigmatized  as  Irish.  Deer,  prairie-chickens  and  other  game, 
as  well  as  domestic  fowls,  were  ver}'  plentj'  and  much  used  for  food. 

The  principal  clothing  worn  by  the  men  was  of  Kentucky  jeans, 
made  into  pants  and  hunting  shirts.  Under-clothing  was  hardly  ever 
worn,  even  in  winter,  and  overcoats,  never ;  and  yet  men  seemed  as 
warm  and  comfortable  then  as  thej*  do  now,  with  under-garments  and 
overcoats.  The  ladies  dressed  principally  in  linse}'  of  their  own 
weaving.  I  well  recollect  when  calico  was  first  generally  worn. 
Patterns  with  large  flowery  figures  were  preferred ;  and  although 
our  prairies  were  covered  all  over  in  profusion  with  the  most  beautiful 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY.  25 

of  flowers,  like  unto  a  garden  of  the  gods,  yet,  I  must  admit,  the 
prettiest  flowers  to  my  delighted  eyes  were  those  printed  upon  calico. 
And  I  might  admit  further,  that  they  are  not  altogether  displeasing 
to  me  even  now.  At  the  huskings,  weddings,  meetings,  and  merry- 
makings, the  girls  looked  as  pretty  then  in  their  home-made  suits  as 
they  do  now,  though  arrayed  in  all  the  gaud  and  glory  of  the  milliner. 
The  principal  occasions  of  great  public  gatherings  were  political 
discussions  ;  for,  either  fortunatel}*  or  unfortunately  (and  which  it  is 
is  a  gi'eat  moral  question) ,  there  never  was  a  man  hung  within  the 
limits  of  this  count}-  at  the  hands  of  justice,  so  the  public  have  never 
been  called  together  out  of  curiosity  on  that  account.  Among  our 
public  speakei's  at  that  time  were :  Lincoln,  Hardin,  Baker,  Lam- 
born,  Richardson,  and  more  latterly,  Yates  and  Douglas,  besides 
many  from  a  distance.  Besides  these  occasions,  we  had  preaching 
in  the  schoolhouses  and  barns  and  groves.  Often  have  some  of  us, 
now  present,  listened  to  Reddick  Horn,  Cyrus  Wright,  Peter  Cart- 
wright,  "  Old  Man  Hammaker,"  of  North  Prairie,  and  many  others. 
How  many  of  the  old  settlers  here  recollect  Old  Father  Doj'le, 
who  used  to  shout  "  power"  until  the  far-off"  woods  rang,  and  the 
hills  sent  back  the  echo.  Oh  !  those  public  meetings  in  the  woods  ; 
how  grand  they  were  !     Bryant  sings  of  them  and  says — 

'"  The  groves  were  God's  first  temples. 
Ah !  why  should  we  in  the  world's  riper  years  neglect 
God's  ancient  sanctuaries,  and  adore 
Only  among  the  crowd,  and  under  roofs 
That  our  frail  hands  have  raised." 

There  used  to  be  a  famous  camp  meeting  ground  for  many  years 
at  "  Uncle  "  William  Holmes',  north-east  of  Virginia,  and  people 
attended  it  from  twenty  miles  around.  When  this  county  was  first 
formed,  there  were  but  few  farms  on  North  Prairie,  except  those 
skirting  the  edge  of  the  timber ;  and  a  man  could  cross  it  any  where 
on  horseback,  led  onh'  by  Indian  trails,  or  the  points  of  timber. 
For  instance,  a  man  could  start  from  the  Jacksonville  road  at  Yaples 
or  Peterfish's  farm,  south  of  where  Virginia  now  is,  and  go  straight 
to  Holmes'  camp  ground,  a  distance  of  about  ten  miles,  northeast, 
and  not  pass  a  fence. 

In  1835,  the  Beardstown  and  Sangamon  Canal  Company  were 
incorporated,  and  there  was  considerable  interest  taken  in  that  work. 

In  1836,  on  the  16th  day  of  June,  Dr.  H.  H.  Hall  laid  out  and 
platted  the  town  of  Virginia,  he  having  entered  the  land  upon  which 
it  stands  a  short  time  previously. 


26  HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 

About  this  time  there  became  a  gradually  growing  feeling  of 
dissatisfaction  in  this,  the  northern  part  of  Morgan  Count}',  with  the 
management  of  county  affairs  at  Jacksonville.  It  seemed  to  the 
people  here,  that  Morgan  County  was  ruled  by  Jacksonville,  and 
that  that  village  was  ruled  by  a  clique,  or  ring,  as  it  would  now  be 
called.  This  feeling  became  more  conspicuous,  as  at  that  time  the 
removal  of  the  State  capital  was  being  worked  up.  It  was 
provided  in  the  Constitution  of  1818,  while  the  capital  was  at 
Kaskaskia,  that  the  Legislature  should  locate  a  new  town,  which 
should  be  the  capital  for  twenty  3'ears.  This  the  Legislature 
did,  and  named  the  place  Vandalia.  The  constitutional  limit  of 
that  location  was  fast  approaching,  and  a  new  seat  of  government 
was  to  be  selected. 

A  statute  was  passed  February  5,  1833,  providing,  that  after  the 
expiration  of  the  time  prescribed  by  the  constitution  for  the  seat  of 
government  remaining  at  Vandalia,  the  people  should  vote  for  one  of 
the  following  named  plaoes  for  the  permanent  seat  of  government, 
to-wit :  "The  geographical  centre  of  the  State,"  Jacksonville, 
Springfield,  Alton,  Vandalia,  and  Peoria,  and  the  point  receiving  the 
highest  number  of  votes  should  forever  remain  the  seat  of  govern- 
ment. The  southern  part  of  the  State  was  at  that  time  most  thickly 
settled,  and  it  soon  became  evident,  that,  unless  the  people  of  Central 
Illinois  united  upon  a  town  in  their  portion  of  the  State,  Vandalia 
or  Alton  would  gain  it.  The  people  in  the  northern  portion  of 
the  State  were  willing  to  sacrifice  Peoria,  but  the  people  of  Central 
Illinois  were  divided  between  Springfield  and  Jacksonville.  There 
was  a  growing  feeling,  however,  in  favor  of  Springfield,  as  being  the 
most  available ;  and  a  convention  was  called  b\'  the  central  and 
northern  counties,  to  meet  at  Rushville,  on  the  7th  da}'  of  April,  1834, 
to  unite  on  one  point  to  support  for  the  State  capital.  Jacksonville 
was  opposed  to  this,  and  favored  the  deferring  the  removal  of  the 
seat  of  government  to  some  future  time,  hoping  to  gain  strength  by 
this  line  of  polic}'.  Consequentl}',  Jacksonville  refused  to  take  part 
in  the  Rushville  convention,  while  the  northern  part  of  the 
county  met  at  Beardstown,  decided  to  take  part  in  the  convention, 
and  elected  Archibald  Job  and  Thomas  Beard  to  represent  them 
there,  which  they  afterwards  did.  This  occasioned  a  discussion 
between  the  newspaper  of  Jacksonville,  conducted  by  Josiah  Lam- 
born,  and  the  "Chronicle,"  on  the  part  of  Beardstown,  by  Francis 
Ai'enz. 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH   OF   CASS    COUNTY.  27 

To  show  the  state  of  this  feeling"  as  early  as  1834,  the  following 
is  from  the  "  Chronicle  "  of  March  25th,  of  that  year : 

"In  the  'Chronicle,'  No.  35,  we  published  the  preamble  and 
resolutions  adopted  at  a  public  meeting  held  in  Beardstown  on  the 
20th  of  Februaiy  last.  In  one  of  the  resolutions,  Archibald  Job  and 
Thomas  Beard  were  appointed  to  attend  as  delegates  at  Rushville, 
on  the  first  Monda}-  of  April  next,  to  represent  the  wishes  of  the 
people  in  the  northern  part  of  Morgan  County. 

'  '■  In  our  last  number  we  published  the  proceedings  of  a  meeting 
held  in  Jacksonville  on  the  3d  inst.  One  of  the  resolutions  adopted 
at  that  meeting,  declares,  that  '  from  the  neutral  position  of  Morgan 
County  in  relation  to  locality  and  interest,  it  is  inexpedient,  at  this 
time,  for  citizens  of  our  county  to  send  delegates  to  the  convention 
proposed  to  be  held  on  the  first  Monda}-  of  April  next.' 

"  We  also  published  a  letter  from  J.  Lamborn,  Esq.,  to  the  editor 
of  this  paper,  explanatory  of  the  views  and  feelings  of  those 
attending  the  Jacksonville  meeting  towards  their  fellow  citizens  of 
the  northern  part  of  Morgan  County,  who  composed  the  Beardstou^n 
meeting ;  but  as  this  letter  was  not  part  of  the  proceedings  at 
Jacksonville,  and  the  resolutions  adopted  are  contrary  and  in 
opposition  to  the  friendl}-  feelings  privately  expressed  b}-  Mr.  Lam- 
born, we  have  to  take  the  sentiments  as  expressed  l)y  the  meeting. 

' "  The  meeting  at  Beardstown  was  composed  of  freemen.  They 
acted  for  themselves,  and  appointed  two  delegates  to  represent  their 
wishes  at  the  proposed  convention,  leaving  four  delegates  to  be 
chosen  in  other  parts  of  Morgan  County.  If  our  fellow  citizens  at 
Jacksonville,  and  in  the  southern  and  western  parts  of  the  county, 
did  not  choose  to  send  delegates,  no  objection  or  dissatisfaction 
would  have  been  entertained  ;  but  a  meeting  composed  of  about 
one  hundred  and  fifty  individuals  at  Jacksonville  and  vicinit}'  (being 
acquainted  with  the  sentiments  expressed  here),  have  assumed  to 
indicate  in  their  resolution  that  it  is  inexpedient,  at  this  time,  for  the 
citizens  of  our  county  to  send  delegates.  To  this  decree  the  citizens 
of  the  north  will  not  submit.  "We  unhesitatingly  say,  that  two 
delegates  will  attend  and  represent  their  wishes.  We  believe  the 
time  has  gone  by  when  a  few  leaders  of  Jacksonville  controlled  the 
votes  of  Morgan  County ;  and  we  would  advise  those  who  have 
influence  in  and  about  Jacksonville,  to  use  it  with  discretion.  The 
people  north  of  Indian  Creek,  and  we  doubt  not  in  other  parts  of  the 
county,  understand  their  own  interest,  and  will  act  accordingly." 


28 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS   COUXTT. 


The  convention  was  held  at  Rushville  at  the  appointed  time,  and 
such  united  action  was  taken  as  eventuated  in  the  passage  of  a 
statute  on  the  3d  day  of  February,  1837,  which  permanenth'  located 
the  seat  of  government  at  Springfield,  and  Archibald  Job,  A.  G. 
Henry  and  Thomas  Hunghan  were  appointed  commissioners  to 
superintend  the  erection  of  the  State  House. 

At  the  very  same  session  which  removed  the  capital,  on  the  3d 
day  of  March,  1837,  a  bill  was  passed  that  the  people  of  Morgan 
Count}'  should,  on  the  third  Monday  of  April  of  that  3'ear,  vote  for 
and  against  the  division  of  that  countv,  on  the  line  running  through 
the  middle  of  townships  seventeen,  north,  and  in  case  the  vote 
favored  it,  all  north  of  that  line  to  constitute  a  new  county,  to  be 
called  the  county  9f  Cass  :  that  the  county  seat  should  be  at  Beards- 
town,  until  the  people  should  permanently  locate  the  county  seat  by 
election ;  and  the  school  fund  should  be  divided  according  to  the 
number  of  the  townships  between  the  two  counties. 

The  election  was  had ;  the  feeling  between  the  northern  and 
southern  sides  of  the  county  was  such  that  the  election  was  favor- 
able to  division,  and  the  northern  townships  immediately  called  an 
election  for  oflScers  with  which  to  organize  the  new  county  of  Cass. 

There  were  then  but  three  voting  precincts  in  this  part  of  Morgan 
County,  which  was  about  being  formed  into  a  new  county  ;  they  were  : 
Beardstown,  Virginia  and  Richmond,  and  the  following  are  the 
names  of  every  man  that  voted  at  that  election,  with  the  names  of 
the  precincts  they  voted  in  : 

Poll  Book  at  an  election  held  at  the  house  of  Moses  Perkins,  in  the 
Beardstown  Precinct,  in  the  County  of  Cass,  Ills.,  August  7,  1837. 
Thos.  Beard,  James  Arnold,  John  Scheffer,  judges ;  T.  U.  Webb,  C. 
W.  Clarke,  clerks. 


John  F.  Bailey, 
Alex.  King, 
Ben.  Beasley, 
Christ.  Shanks. 
Jerem.  Wilson. 
Jordan  Marshall. 
Jos.  Britten, 
Geo.  Bryant, 
Jas.  King, 
Geo.  McKay, 
John  C.  Linsley, 
Elizur  Anderson. 
Edmund  Enslv. 


C.  F.  Kandage. 
Elisha  Marshall, 
John  Marshall. 
Jos.  Seaman, 
Isham  Revis. 
Nich.  Parsons. 
Lewis  G.  Lambert, 
AVm.  Cox. 
Frankl.  Stewart. 
Sam.  Hunt, 
Jas.  Pounds. 
Fredy  White, 
Landerick  Kale, 


Evan  Jenkins, 
T.  C.  Mills. 
Wm.  Tnrkymire, 
J.  W.  Crewdson, 
Thos.  Haskins, 
Andr.  Keltner. 
Amasa  Reeves, 
Chr.  Boyd, 
Jos.  Haskins. 
Milton  Parmele, 
Jno.  Quail. 
Barnard  Beist, 
Ben.  Britton, 


j — 1 

HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS 

COUNTY.                                 29 

Geo.  Cowan. 

Wm.  Bryant. 

Wm.  Home. 

J.  N.  Jenkins, 

Dav.  Marshall, 

Thos.  C.  Black, 

Dan.  Britton. 

Bluford  Haines, 

Owen  Clemens, 

Sam.  Groshong, 

Hy.  Schaft'er, 

Bradford  Rew, 

Jn.  Kettely. 

Thos.  Pierce, 

Lewis  Cowan, 

Wm.  Qui  org. 

Jacob  J.  Brown . 

Nich.  Coterall. 

Marcus  Chandler, 

Jackson  Stewart, 

Gottlieb  Jokisch, 

Leander  Brown, 

Jos.  Canby, 

Jn.  Cuppy. 

Jas.  Garlick. 

Geo.  Garlick. 

Godfr.  Gutlet. 

Dan'l  Boyne. 

Jas.  Dickinson, 

John  C.  Scott, 

Thos.  Proctor, 

Wesley  Payton, 

Wm.  H.  McKanley, 

Eich'd  Graves, 

Isaac  Short. 

Alex.  Ratcliff. 

Rich'd  Wells. 

Amasa  Warren, 

Math.  McBride, 

Geo.  Brown, 

Geo.  Schaeflfr. 

John  Burns, 

Ben.  Horoni. 

Asa  Street. 

John  Bridgewater, 

Jos.  H.  Clemens, 

Jas.  Eoaeh, 

Jno.  A.  Thomas 

Jas.  Xeeper, 

Jas.  A.  Carr. 

John  Buck. 

Jackson  Scott, 

John  Haram, 

Wm.  R.  White. 

Stephen  Buck, 

Zach.  Bridgewater, 

Jn.  W.  Anderson, 

Wni.  Shuteman, 

Wm.  Moore. 

Henry  Collins, 

Edward  Salley, 

Wm.  R.  Parks, 

Hy.  Roha, 

Demsey  Boyce, 

Jn.  P.  Dick. 

Wm.  Bassett, 

Aaron  Powell, 

Joshua  Morris. 

Jas.  Davidson, 

Jerni.  Bowes, 

Wm.  W.  Clemens. 

Robt.  Lindsay, 

Jas.  Case, 

J.  Philippi, 

Wm.  Cross, 

A.  Philippi. 

Jas.  Scott, 

Jn.  Wilbourns, 

P.  Philippi. 

Jas.  Cook. 

John  McKean, 

W.  W.  Gordon, 

John  Gutliff  B«rger, 

Jas.  Logan. 

Hy.  Havekluft, 

Fred.  Krohe. 

Jos.  Baker, 

Jac.  Fisal. 

Aug.  Krohe. 

Christ.  Xewman, 

John  Xewmau, 

Fred.  Inkle. 

Thos.  Stokes, 

John  Yokes, 

Louis  Sudbrink, 

Jasper  Buck, 

Orrin  Hicks, 

Adam  Krough. 

Jas.  Davis, 

John  Waggoner, 

Montela  Richardson, 

Jas.  Bell, 

Thos.  Cowan, 

Rucj'  Richardson, 

E.  R.  Gillet, 

John  Hicks. 

W.  Moody, 

J.  B.  Pierce, 

Dav.  Xewtuaa, 

Sam.  Fletcher. 

Harmon  Byrnes, 

G.  A.  Bonny, 

L.  H.  Tread  way, 

Joshua  Alexander, 

Xich.  Rheiui. 

John  Price. 

Edw'd  Treadway, 

Moses  Derby, 

Reuben  Alexander, 

Chs.  Chandler, 

Jas.  Bonnett, 

Jn.  Miller, 

Peter  Light, 

Curtis  Hager, 

Lewis  Haines, 

"Wm.  B.  Gaines, 

Dan.  Wells, 

Phil.  Schaffer. 

Fred.  Krohe, 

Hy.  P.  Ross, 

Gottleib  Jokisch, 

Caleb  Lee, 

H}-.  Kemble. 

Jn.  H.  Treadway, 

Thos.  Carroll, 

Edw.  Saunders, 

John  Richardson, 

Phil.  Kuhu, 

Adolph  Shupong, 

Christ'n  Kuhl, 

G.  Kuhl, 

G.  Kuhl.  2d. 

John  Holkmon, 

John  Rohn, 

Henry  T.  Foster, 

Seymour  Coftren, 

Jac.  Downing, 

Dav.  Tureman, 
Dav.  Spence, 
Moritz  Hallenbach, 
Hy.  Boemler, 
Dav.  Emmerich, 
L.  H.  Wilkey, 
Thos.  J.  Moseley, 
Joel  K.  Bowman, 
\Vm.  W.  Gillet, 
.  Wm.  Hemminghouse, 
Fred.  Ivors, 
John  Decker, 
Chs.  Garland, 
John  Brackle, 
Chr.  Hell, 
Elisha  Olcott.  v 
Absalom  Spence, 
Wm.  Ritchie, 
Hy.  Miller, 
M.  Kemper, 
Wm.  Moore, 
Sam.  Shaw, 
Jos.  McClure, 
Wm.  Dougall, 
Wm.  Holmes, 
Lewis  Xolte, 
Wm.  Clark, 
B.  W.  Schneider, 
Francis  Eice, 
Aug.  Knapp, 
Dan.  Scott, 
Martin  F.  Higgins, 
Dudley  Green, 
Thos.  Wilbourne, 
Hy.  Braker, 
O.  Long, 
John  Schaeffer, 
'I'.  U.  Webb, 
J.  Blackraan. 


Pet.  B.  Bell. 
Morgan  Kemper, 
Thos.  Bryant. 
Otto  Wells. 
J.  W.  Lippincott, 
Wm.  Shepard, 
Sam.  Thompson. 
Hy.  Hendricker, 
Rob.  Moore, 
Wm.  Sewell, 
Sam.  McKee, 
T.  A.  Hoffman, 
Reuben  Hager, 
John  Duchardt, 
Wm.  L.  Felix, 
John  Avers, 
Hammer  Oatman, 
Thos.  Saunders. 
A.  Williams, 
J.  B.  Wilson, 
Thos.  Payne, 
Wm.  B.  Ulside. 
Dan.  Sheldon, 
John  McLane, 
Lewis  Kloker, 

F.  Arenz, 
Moses  Perkins, 
Hy.  Pheboe. 
Butler  Arnold, 
Isaac  Plasters, 
J.  P.  Harvey, 
Wm.  H.  Williams, 
Ralph  Morgan, 

J.  P.  Crow, 
Austin  Shittenden, 

G.  W.  Clark, 
John  Cushman, 
J.  S.  Wilbourne, 
Wm..  Scott, 


Edvv.  Collins. 

John  Pierson, 

Lewis  Piper, 

Jn.  Steele, 

Arn.  Arenz, 

Pet.  Douglas. 

Hy.  Kashner, 

J.  M.  Quate, 

Jn.  W.  Gillis, 

Dav.  Jones, 

Jos.  W.  Hardy, 

Wm.  Miller, 

Christ.  Trone, 

Jessie  Ankrom, 
John  McKowan, 

Hy.  Whittick, 
Carlton  Logan, 

Wm.  Butler, 
H.  Smith. 
J.  C.  Spence, 
Nich.  Kelly, 
Wm.  W.  Bolt, 
Wm.  DeHaven, 
Hy.  Wedeking, 
Dan.  Riggle, 
G.  F.  Miller, 
C.  J.  Norbury. 
T.  Graham,  Jr., 
Lemuel  Plasters, 
Jac.  Anderson, 
Hy.  McKean, 
JohnW.  Pratt, 
John  Bull. 
Lewis  Stoner, 
Thos.  Beard, 
J.  Arnold, 
N.  B.  Thompson. 
A.  Batoage, 
Dav.  White. 


Poll  Book  at  Richmond  Precinct  election  of  1837, 


Mat'w  Soundsberry,  Jr. 
John  Hillis, 
Wm.  T.  Kirk, 
Thos.  Lockermand. 
Azariah  Lewis, 
Levy  Dick, 
Gibson  Carter. 


David  Pratt, 
John  Fancier, 
Henry  Nichols. 
Jacob  Bixler, 
Obadiah  Morgan, 
Horatio  Purdy, 
Jerry  W.  Davis. 


John  Roberts, 
John  Chesshire, 
Thomas  Plasters, 
Abner  Foster, 
Peter  Dick, 
Cary  Nance, 
Wm.  Linn. 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS 

COUNTT.                                31 

Enoch  Wheelock, 

James  B.  Conner, 

John  Leeper, 

John  Wilson, 

Willis  Daniels. 

Pleasant  Rose, 

Oliver  Lege, 

Wm.  S.  Clemens, 

Geo.  Fancier, 

Wni.  Lucas, 

Robert  Carter, 

James  Bonnet, 

Aaion  Wrifrht, 

James  Wing, 

Cyrus  Elmore. 

John  Pryor, 

Washington  Daniels. 

Thomas  Jones, 

Standley  Lockerman, 

Ely  Cox. 

Henry  D.  Wilson, 

Henry  S.  Dutch, 

James  Hickey, 

John  L.  Witty, 

Robert  Nance, 

John  Baldin, 

Henry  Taylor, 

Wm.  Myers, 

Ashley  Hickey, 

Alfred  Daniels, 

Wm.  Myers, 

John  B.  Witty, 

Marcus  Cooper, 

Amos  Dick. 

Calvin  Wilson,  -J 

John  B.  Thompson, 

Henry  Dick, 

Charles  Scaggs, 

Eaton  Xance, 

Jonathan  N.  Loge, 

W^m.  P.  Morgan, 

James  Hathorn, 

John  Hathorn, 

Riley  Claxton, 

John  Pratt, 

Colman  Gaines, 

Zechariah  Hash, 

H.  W\  Libbeon, 

John  Davis, 

John  Cook, 

Sylvester  Sutton, 

Daniel  Robinson, 

Clinton  Wilson, 

Robert  G.  Gaines, 

John  Lucas, 

Henry  McHenry, 

Amos  Bonney,  '^ 

Robert  Leeper, 

John  Johnson, 

James  Roles, 

John  Taylor. 

Mathew  Loundsberry, 

Cyrus  Wright, 

Robert  B.  Taylor, 

Frederick  McDonald. 

Election  at  the  house  of  John  De  "Weber,  in  the  Virginia  Precinct, 

in  the  County  of  Cass,  Illinois,  August  7,  1837.     This  certificate  is 

added  :    "  The  county  not  being  organized,  and,  of  course,  no  Justice 

of  Peace  or  appointed  Judge,  Mr.  Wm.  Clark  administered  the  oath 

to  the  other  acting  judges,  and  Mr.  James  Daniel  administered  it  to 

him  and  to  the  clerks.     Subscribed  by  us, 

"WM.  M.  CLARK, 

JAMES  DANIEL." 


Louis  Thornsberry, 
AVin.  Paton, 
Wm.  Graves, 
Levi  Springer, 
P.  S.  Oulten, 
John  Slack, 
Ezra  Dutch, 
Young  Phelps, 
John  Craig, 
L.  B.  Ross. 
Thos.  Plaster,  Sr.. 
Benj.  Corby. 
John  Glover. 
P.  Underwood.  Jr., 
Perry  G.  Price, 
Thos.  J.  Joy. 


John  Daniel. 
Wm.  B.  Kirk. 
Jeremiah  Northern, 
Jos.  McDaniel. 
Felix  Cameron. 
Robt.  Davison. 
H.  Osborne, 
Benedict  Cameron, 
Anderson  Phelps. 
Zeb.  Wood, 
Jesse  Spicer, 
Wm.  Craig, 
Jas.  Bland, 
L.  Carpenter, 
John  Clark. 
L.  Clark, 


Geo.  Cunningham, 
Michael  Reed, 
Green  H.  Paschal, 
Onslow  Watson, 
John  McDonald, 
Joel  Home. 
Chas.  Brady, 
Wm.  Daniels, 
W.  P.  Johnstone. 
W.  P.  Finch. 
John  Carpenter. 
Thos.  Lee. 
Thos.  G.  Howard. 
Joshua  Price. 
Green  Garner, 
Aaron  Bonny, 


32 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH   OF   CASS    COUNTY. 


Amos  L.  Bonn}', 
Ephraim  Moseley, 
Jas.  Ptoss,  Sr., 
T.  S.  Berry, 
A.  Bowen, 
John  Long, 
Evan  Warren, 
John  Cunningham, 
Jas.  Holland. 
Wm.  Fields, 
Alex.  Bain. 
Jas.  Garner, 
John  Biddies. 
Phillip  Cochrane, 
H.  H.  Hall, 
A.  Elder, 
A.  S.  West, 
Wm.  M.  Clark, 
Wm.  Blain. 


J.  S.  Wilbourne 11 


Lemon  Plaster 81 


]^.  B.  Thompson 30 

Alfred  Elder 64 


Titus  Phelps, 
Jas.  Williams, 
Henry  Hopkins, 
Thos.  Boicourt, 
John  Robinson, 
George  Shaw, 
J.  M.  Ross, 
Pleas.  Scott, 
Jas.  Biddle. 
J.  T.  Powell. 
John  De  Weber, 
Reddick  Horn, 
Archibald  Job, 
George  Beggs, 
B.  Stribling, 
Chas.  P.  Anderson, 
S.  Steveson. 
Jas.  Daniels, 

CANDIDATES. 

Probate  Justice. 
Wm.  Scott 26 

Sheriff. 
M.  F.  Higgins 15 

Becorder. 
Thos.  Graham 1 


James  B.  Davis, 
John  Redman, 
Elias  Matthew, 
Thos.  Finn, 
Daniel  Cauby, 
L.  B.  Freeman. 
J.  M.  McLean, 

B.  A.  Blantin, 
Jos.  Jump, 

C.  H.  Oliver, 
Alex.  Huflman, 
Jonas  McDonald, 
John  Peirce, 
John  Biddlecome, 
Jas.  Berry. 

M.  O'Brien, 
Isaiah  Paschal. 
M.  H.  Biddies, 


Jas.  Berrj- 


J.  B.  Bueb 


County  Commissioners^  Treasurer. 
Thos.  Wilbourn 14    J.  C.  Spense 84 

County  Commissioners''  Clerk. 
J.  M.  Pratt 52    R.  G.  Gains 49 

County  Commissioners. 

Amos  Bonney 60    G.F.Miller 16    H.  McKean  . . 

Beuj.  Stribling 95    Henry  McHenry ....  7 

County  Surveyor. 
Wm.  Holmes 86    Wm.  Clark 19 

Coroner. 
C.  Rew 27    J.  Anderson  . . .  .None.    Halsey  Smith. 


.65 


.70 


Dr.  O.  M.  Long 7 


.30 


lO 


The  election  was  held  on  the  first  daj-  of  August,  1837,  and  the 
following  named  oflBc^'S  were  elected :  Joshua  P.  Crow,  Amos 
Bonney  and  George  F.  Miller,  county  commissioners ;  John  S. 
Wilbourne,  probate  justice  of  the  peace ;  John  W.  Pratt,  clerk  of 
county  commissioners'  court ;  K.  B.  Thompson,  clerk  of  the  circuit 
court ;  Lemon  Plaster,  sheriff.  These  men  were  sworn  into  office  by 
Thomas  Pogue,  a  Beardstown  magistrate. 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY, 


33 


On  the  14th  da}'  of  August,  the  county  commissioners  met  and 
organized  Cass  County.  At  this  first  meeting  of  the  Board,  tlie  new 
county  was  divided  into  six  precincts,  which  were  named  :  Beards- 
town,  Monroe,  Virginia,  Sugar  Grove,  Richmond  and  Bowens. 

When  this  count}'  was  organized  there  was  not  a  house,  built 
exchisively  for  religious  worship,  in  it,  and  not  one  in  all  Morgan 
County  outside  of  Jacksonville.  Physicians  were  scarce,  and  fever 
and  ague  quite  common.  Game  was  plenty,  some  of  which  was  very 
disagreeable,  particularly  wolves,  and  an  occasional  panther.  The 
wolves  very  seldom  did  violence  to  human  beings  ;  but  when  the 
weather  was  cold  and  stormy,  and  the  ground  frozen,  they  were  so 
bold  and  threatening,  that  nobody  cared  to  risk  himself  out  alone  at 
night.  The  only  instance  of  violence  to  a  man  within  my  recollection, 
was  the  case  of  Esquire  Daniel  Troy,  living  near  Bethel,  who  was 
walking  home  one  night  from  town,  carrying  a  quarter  of  beef  on  his 
shoulder.  He  was  attacked  by  a  gang  of  wolves,  the  beef  taken 
away  from  him,  and  he  very  roughly  handled. 

There  were  a  few  large  gray  wolves  also,  that  were  very  much 
feared.  One  cold,  bright,  moon-shiny  night,  I  heard  an  uncommon 
fuss  with  my  dogs,  and  opened  my  cabin  door.  A  favorite  little 
black  dog  immediately  pounced  into  the  house,  and  the  largest  gray 
wolf  I  ever  saw,  which  was  after  him,  tried  to  follow.  The  door  was 
open,  and  I  had  no  time  to  get  my  rifle.  The  only  weapon  at  hand 
was  a  stick  of  fire  wood,  but  with  this  I  did  good  execution,  and 
Mr.  Wolf  had  to  beat  a  retreat.  So  severely  had  I  beaten  him,  that 
he  immediately  left  our  premises.  I  afterwards  heard  a  fuss  among 
the  dogs  at  a  neighbor's,  Armstrong  Cooper's  house,  and  then  the 
crack  of  a  rifle,  and  in  a  short  time  I  heard  the  dogs  and  another 
rifle  at  Mr.  Lamb's  house,  and  then  all  was  still.  I  found  next 
morning  that  these  shots  of  Cooper  and  Lamb  had  killed  him.  He 
was  a  monster,  and  measured  nine  feet  and  nine  inches,  from  his  nose 
to  the  end  of  his  tail. 

At  that  time,  there  was  very  little  litigation  among  the  country 
people,  and  personal  altercations  were  usually  settled  by  a  resort  to 
blows. 

It  was  in  the  winter  of  1836-37,  I  believe,  although  I  would  defer 
my  recollection  to  others,  if  they  think  I  am  mistaken,  that  we  had 
what  we  called  the  "sudden  change"  in  the  weather,  the  most 
remarkable  one  I  ever  saw,  heard  of,  or  read  of.  On  Saturday 
morning,  there  was  snow  on  the  ground.  The  following  Sunday  was 
a  very  Avarm  day,  and  Monday,  until  about  one  o'clock  p.m.,  was 

3 


34  HISTORICAL    SKETCH   OF   CASS    COUNTY. 

Still  warmer,  and  on  both  clays  there  was  considerable  rain.  The 
snow  had  melted  into  slush  and  water,  which  was  standing  in  ponds 
on  the  level  ground,  and  roaring  down  declivities.  At  that  hour,  the 
weather  turned  suddenly  very  cold .  In  one  hour  after  the  change  began 
the  slush  and  water  was  frozen  solid  ;  and  in  two  hours  from  that 
time,  men  were  hurriedly  crossing  the  river  on  the  ice.  A  vast 
amount  of  cattle,  fowls  and  game,  and  man}'  persons,  were  frozen  to 
death.  I  heard  of  one  man,  who  was  crossing  a  prairie,  on  horse- 
back, who  had  killed  his  horse  and  taken  the  entrails  out  of  him  and 
then  crawled  inside  of  him  for  protection,  was  found  there  frozen 
to  death.  I  don't  know  how  the  thermometer  stood,  for  we  had 
none. 

On  Monday,  during  this  sudden  change.  Dr.  Chandler  was 
returning  home  from  a  professional  trip  up  the  bottom.  His  overcoat 
was  covered  with  slush  and  mud,  and  in  a  few  minutes  after  the 
change  began  his  coat  was  frozen  stiff,  and  he  felt  that  he  was  in 
danger  of  being  frozen.  He  stopped  at  the  store  of  Henry  T.  & 
Abner  Foster,  at  Richmond,  on  the  land  since  owned  by  John  P.  Dick, 
where  he  was  warmed  up  and  thawed  out.  He  then  mounted  his 
horse  and  started  on  a  gallop  for  home,  about  six  miles  distant,  but 
soon  found  himself  freezing  again.  He  stopped  at  another  house,  and 
warmed,  and  started  again,  with  like  results.  He  tbus  was  forced  to 
stop  at  four  different  houses,  between  Foster's  store  and  his  house,  to 
prevent  freezing  to  death.  When  he  arrived  within  sight  of  his  own 
house  his  horse  fell  down,  and  left  him  helpless  on  the  ice,  and  his 
family  dragged  him,  in  a  helpless  condition,  into  the  house. 

At  the  special  session  of  the  Legislature  in  the  summer  of  1837, 
was  passed  a  preamble  and  statute  to  the  following  effect : 

.  "  Whereas,  at  an  election  held  in  the  county  of  Morgan,  according 
to  the  provisions  of  '  An  act  for  the  formation  of  the  county  of 
Cass,'  it  appeared  that  a  majority  of  the  voters  of  said  county  voted 
for  the  creation  of  said  county  ;  and,  whereas,  at  an  election  for  the 
county  seat  of  said  county,  Beardstown  received  the  highest  number 
of  votes  for  the  county  seat,  and  whereas  some  doubts  have  been 
expressed  as  to  the  legality  of  the  proceedings  of  said  elections, 
now,  therefore,  to  remove  all  doubts  on  that  subject : 

"Sec.  1.  Be  it  enacted  by  the  'people  of  the  State  of  Illinois 
represented  in  the  General  Assembly,  That  the  county  of  Cass,  as 
designated  and  bounded  in  the  '  Act  for  the  formation  of  the  county 
of  Cass,'  approved,  March  3d,  1837,  be,  and  the  same  is  hereby 
declared  to  be,  one  of  the  counties  of  this  State. 


"  Sec.  2.  The  county  seat  shall  be  located  at  the  city  of  Beards- 
town,  in  said  county :  Provided,  hoivever.  That  the  provision  of  the 
act,  above  referred  to,  shall  be  complied  with  by  the  citizens,  or 
corporation  of  Beardstown,  in  relation  to  the  raising  the  sum  of  ten 
thousand  dollars,  to  defray  the  expenses  of  erecting  public  buildings 
for  said  count}'. 

"  Sec.  3.  The  corporation  of  Beardstown  shall  be  allowed  the 
period  of  one,  two,  and  three  years,  for  the  payment  of  ten  thousand 
dollars,  aforesaid,  to  be  calculated  from  the  passage  of  the  law 
aforesaid,  which  sum  shall  be  paid  in  three  equal  payments.  The 
County  Commissioners'  Court  of  said  count}'  shall  make  their  con- 
tracts for  erecting  the  public  buildings  in  said  county,  so  as  to 
make  their  payments  thereon  when  the  said  installments  aforesaid 
shall  become  due  and  payable. 

"  Sec.  4.  The  court  house  of  said  county  shall  be  erected  on  the 
plat  of  ground  known  as  the  public  square,'  in  said  town  of  Beards- 
town. 

"  Sec.  5.  Returns  of  the  elections  for  the  county  officers  of  said 
county,  to  be  elected  on  the  first  Monday  of  August  next,  shall  be 
made  in  Beardstown,  to  0.  M,  Long  and  Thomas  Poyne,  notaries 
public  in  Beardstown,  who  shall  open  and  examine  the  poll  books  of 
said  election  in  the  presence  of  one  or  more  Justices  of  the  Peace 
in  and  for  said  count}' ;  and  said  notaries  public,  after  due  inspection 
and  examination  of  the  poll  books,  aecoi'ding  to  the  laws  of  this 
State,  shall  make  out  certificates  of  election  of  those  persons  who 
have  received  the  highest  number  of  votes,  which  certificates  shall 
be  such  as  those  required  to  be  made  by  the  clerks  of  the  Count}' 
Commissioners'  Court,  and  shall  receive  and  be  entitled  to  the  same 
eflfect  in  law." 

This  statute  also  provides  how  the  school  fund  of  Morgan  County 
shall  be  divided  with  Cass  County. 

At  the  session  of  1839,  on  the  2d  day  of  March,  the  Legislature 
made  this  preamble  and  statute  : 

"  Whe7-eas  it  was  provided,  by  the  act  for  the  formation  of  the 
county  of  Cass,  that,  in  case  the  county  seat  of  said  county  should 
be  located  at  Beardstown,  the  corporation  or  inhabitants  should, 
within  one  year  after  the  location,  pay  into  the  county  treasury  the 
sum  of  ten  thousand  dollars,  to  be  applied  to  the  erection  of  public 
buildings  ;  and  whereas,  by  the  act  passed  21st  of  July,  1837,  in 
relation  to  said  county,  further  time  was  allowed  said  corporation  to 
make   said  payment,  the  said  corporation  having  failed  to  pay  the 


said  ten  thousand  dollars,' and  not  having  complied  with,  or  agreed 
to  oomph-  with  the  provisions  of  the  last  recited  act,  the  County 
Commissioners  of  said  county,  under  the  provisions  of  the  first 
recited  act,  located  the  count}-  seat  at  Virginia,  and  contracted  for 
the  erection  of  a  court  house  and  jail  in  said  county ;  and  doubts 
beinof  entertained  as  to  the  true  construction  of  the  act  last  recited  in 
relation  to  the  rights  of  said  corporation,  and  the  duties  of  the 
County  Commissioners,  therefore : 

"  Sec.  1.  Be  it  enacted  by  the  x>^ople  of  the  State  of  Illinois 
represented  in  the  General  Assembly,  That  the  county  seat  of  Cass 
Count}-  shall  be  and  remain  at  Virginia,  and  the  courts  of  said 
count}-  shall  hereafter  be  held  at  that  place  ;  and  the  several  county 
officers,  who  are  required  to  keep  their  offices  at  the  county  seat,  are 
required  to  remove  their  respective  offices,  and  all  bonds,  documents, 
books  and  papers  pertaining  to  the  same,  to  Virginia,  on  or  before 
the  first  day  of  May  next,  and  thereafter  hold  and  keep  their 
respective  offices  at  that  place  ;  and  in  case  one  or  more  of  said 
officers  shall  fail,  or  refuse  to  comply  with  the  provisions  of  this  act, 
such  officer  shall  forfeit  his  office." 

In  the  years  1838  and  1839,  was  built,  as  I  believe,  the  first  rail- 
road west  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains,  running  from  Meredosia  to 
Springfield.  I  particularly  recollect  this  great  enterprise,  for  two 
reasons :  first,  I  took  a  trip  in  1838  from  Meredosia  to  Jacksonville, 
on  the  first  passenger  train  that  ever  ran  on  that  road  ;  and  second, 
because  it  was  built  by  the  State,  and  was  a  part  of  that  great 
internal  improvement  policy,  which  bankrupted  and  disgraced  the 
State,  and  spread  misery  among  the  people.  Of  all  tl>e  hard  times 
that  the  people  of  Cass  County,  and  indeed  of  the  whole  State,  have 
ever  seen,  these  were  the  hardest. 

This  was  caused  by  the  passage  of  a  bill  in  the  Legislature, 
providing  for  a  general  system  of  internal  improvements  by  the 
construction  of  nearly  1,300  miles  of  railroad,  and  the  improvement 
of  various  rivers.  These  improvements  never  paid  the  interest  on 
the  money  they  cost,  and  in  1840,  after  a  short  but  eventful  life  of 
three  years,  fell  the  most  stupendous,  extravagant,  and  almost  ruinous 
folly  of  a  grand  system  of  internal  improvements  that  any  civilized 
community,  perhaps,  ever  engaged  in,  leaving  a  State  debt  of 
$14,237,348.00,  and  a  population  of  less  than  half  a  million  to  pay  it. 
For  this  the  people  could  not  blame  the  Legislature,  or  the  politicians, 
for  the  people  themselves  had  demanded  and  clamored  for  it,  and  the 
Legfislature  onlv  obeved  their  behest  in  granting  it.     At   the  same 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTV.  37 


time,  the  State  banks  suspended,  and  left  us  with  a  depreciated 
currency.  The  State  Bank  of  Shawneetown  collapsed  with  a  circu- 
lation of  $1,700,000,  and  the  State  Bank  with  $3,000,000.  The 
people  were  left  destitute  of  an  adequate  circulating  medium,  and 
were  not  supplied  until  the  ordinary  process  of  tlicir  limited  commerce 
brought  in  gold  and  silver  and  bills  of  solvent  banks  from  the  other 
States,  which  was  very  slow.  Even  immigration  was  stopped,  owing 
to  the  general  financial  embarrassment,  high  taxes,  and  disgraceful 
condition  of  the  State.  When  monej-  was  abundant,  credit  had  been 
extended  to  every  body.  With  the  vast  system  of  internal  improve- 
ments, and  the  large  circulation  of  the  banks,  this  was  the  condition 
of  our  people.  They  were  largely  in  debt  on  account  of  speculations, 
which  proved  to  be  delusions.  Contracts  matured,  but  nobody 
paid.  The  State  had  sold  and  hypothecated  her  bonds  until  its  credit 
was  exhausted.  Then  no  further  effort  was  made  to  pay  even  the 
interest  on  the  State  debt.  Then  the  State  bonds  went  down,  down, 
until  they  were  worth  but  fourteen  cents  on  the  dollar.  The  people 
were  unable  and  unwilling  to  pay  higher  taxes,  and  what  might  almost 
be  called  a  general  bankruptcy'  ensued.  The  people  owed  the 
merchants  ;  the  merchants  owed  the  banks,  and  for  goods  purchased 
abroad  ;  while  the  banks,  having  suspended  specie  payment,  owed 
every  one  who  carried  one  of  their  rags  in  his  pocket.  None  could 
pay  in  par  funds,  for  there  were  none  to  be  had.  In  this  dilemma 
the  Legislature  tried  to  come  to  the  relief  of  the  people,  but  instead 
of  relieving  them  from  their  wretched  condition  by  summary  legis- 
lation, they,  as  such  bodies  usually  do,  in  like  circumstances,  onl}- 
made  matters  worse.  Among  other  statutes  passed  with  this  generous 
object,  was  one  that  I  have  no  doubt  man}'  of  m}-  hearers  will 
recollect,  which  was  known  among  the  people  as  the  stay  law,  or 
two-thirds  Ian:.  It  serves  to  illustrate  both  the  hard  times  and  the 
inconsiderate  and  unjust  legislation  of  that  day,  although  done  with 
the  intention  of  affording  relief  to  the  debtor  class,  without  apparently 
thinking  that  it  was  at  the  expense  of  the  creditor.  This  law  provided 
that  property  levied  upon  by  execution  should  be  valued  as  in 
"ordinary  times;"  the  valuation  to  l)e  made  by  three  householders 
summoned  by  the  oflicer  holding  the  writ,  of  whom  the  debtor, 
creditor,  and  officer  should  each  choose  one,  thus  placing  it  in  the 
power  of  the  oflicer  to  favor  either  part}'  at  his  option  ;  the  property 
was  not  to  be  sold  unless  it  brought  two-thirds  of  its  valuation  ;  no 
wa}'  was  provided  b}'  which  the  creditor,  if  two-thirds  of  its  valuation 
vi^as  not  bid,  could  hold  his  lien  ;  thus  forcing  him  to  stay  collection 


38  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY, 


or  suffer  discount  of  33^  per  cent.  This  law  was  made  applicable  to 
all  judgments  rendered  and  contracts  accruing  prior  to  the  1st  of 
Ma}',  1841,  without  reference  to  the  legal  obligations  of  the  time 
when  contracts  were  entered  into ;  being  in  violation  of  that  clause 
of  the  constitution  of  the  United  States,  declaring  that  "  no  law  stall 
be  passed  impairing  the  obligation  of  contracts."  In  the  case  of 
McCracken  vs.  Hoiuard,  2d  Howard,  608,  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
United  States  subsequently  held  this  law  to  be  unconstitutional. 
But,  in  the  mean  time,  the  law  had  performed  its  mission,  and  had 
rendered  the  collection  of  debts  almost  impossible.  The  condition 
of  our  people  was  truly  distressing.  There  was  an  utter  dearth  and 
stagnation  of  business.  Abroad,  the  name  of  the  State  was 
associated  with  dishonor.  There  were  no  immigrants  but  those  who 
had  nothing  to  lose  ;  while  people  here,  with  rare  exceptions,  were 
anxious  to  sell  out  and  flee  a  countiy  presenting  no  alternative  than 
exorbitant  taxation  or  disgrace.  But  propert}'  would  not  sell,  nor 
was  there  an}-  money  to  buy  with.  Indeed,  money,  as  a  means  of 
exchange,  became  almost  unknown.  Payment  was  taken  in  trade, 
store  pay,  etc.  Merchants  and  other  dealers  issued  warrants  or  due 
bills,  which  passed  for  so  much  on  the  dollar  in  trade.  Even  the 
County  Commissioners'  Court  of  Cass  County  came  to  the  relief  of 
the  people,  and  had  a  plate  engraved,  and  issued  vast  quantities  of 
count}'  warrants,  or  orders,  in  the  similitude  of  one  dollar  bank  bills. 
But  these  county  orders,  and  others  like  them,  were  made  invalid  b}- 
an  Act  of  the  Legislature  passed  in  the  interest  of  the  banks  ;  so 
that  even  this  charitable  act  on  the  part  of  our  County  Com- 
missioners to  relieve  the  local  scarcity  of  money  failed  in  its  office. 

At  this  time  money  was  so  scarce  that  it  was  with  great  difficult}' 
that  farmers,  owning  good  farms,  could  get  the  money  to  pay  their 
IDOstage.  It  was  not  necessary  then  to  prepay  postage.  Domestic 
letters  cost  from  five  to  twenty-five  cents  apiece,  according  to  the 
distance  they  had  come  ;  and  foreign  letters  were  still  higher. 

What  was  worse,  they  must  all  be  paid  for  in  silver,  and  it 
often  occurred  that  a  letter  would  lay  in  the  office  for  weeks  before 
its  owner  could  get  the  silver  to  redeem  it.  If  the  farmers  wished  to 
get  goods  from  the  store,  they  were  forced  to  buy  on  credit,  and  pay 
in  grain  or  other  produce,  or  take  butter,  eggs,  poultry,  game,  honey, 
wood,  or  other  articles,  to  exchange  for  store  goods. 

Produce  continually  fluctuated  in  price,  even  in  store  pay.  I 
have  seen  corn  sell  at  six  cents  often,  and  have  heard  farmers  remark 
that  ten  cents  in  cash  was  all  that  corn  ought  to  and  probably  ever 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY.  39 

would  bring,  and  that  farmers  could  get  rich  at  that  price.  I  have 
sold  wheat  in  Beardstown  at  35  cents  per  bushel,  and  pork  often  at 
1|  cents  per  pound. 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  County  Commissioners'  Court  after 
the  organization  of  this  county,  was  to  arrange  for  raising  a  revenue, 
and  the}'  passed  an  order  that  the  following  kinds  of  property  be 
taxed  at  the  rate  of  one-half  per  cent. :  Town  lots,  "  indentured 
or  registered  negro  or  mulatto  servants"  (for  this  had  not  ceased 
to  be  a  slave  State  at  that  time) ,  pleasure  carriages,  stocks  in  trade, 
horses,  mules,  "  and  all  neat  cattle  over  and  under  three  years  old," 
hogs,  sheep,  wagons  and  carts. 

A  pubjic  notice  was  given  to  "  all  persons  trading  in  Cass 
County  "  to  procure  a  license  according  to  law.  Under  this  notice, 
at  the  September  Term,  1837,  Spence  &  Foster,  T.  &  J.T.  Wilbourn, 
and  Parrot  &  Alcott,  got  a  license  to  sell  goods,  wares,  and  merchan- 
dise in  Beardstown  ;  and  Beasle}'  &  Schafer,  a  similar  license  at 
Monroe  ;  and  all  such  licenses  were  fixed  at  five  dollars  each.  Tavern 
licenses  were  granted  at  seven  dollars  each.  At  the  same  term,  a 
license  to  keep  a  ferr^'-boat,  for  one  year,  at  Beardstown,  was  granted 
to  Thomas  Beard  for  twenty-two  dollars. 

The  first  county  order  drawn  on  the  treasurer,  was  for  twenty-two 
dollars  and  fifty  cents,  in  favor  of  N.  B.  Thompson,  for  the  books  of 
the  Count}'  Commissioners'  Court.  The  second  was  in  favor  of  N. 
B.  Thompson,  for  thirt}'  dollars,  and  was  for  three  county  seals,  in 
full,  September  6,  1837. 

The  first  term  of  the  Circuit  Court  of  Cass  County  was  held  in 
Beardstown,  November  13,  1837,  in  a  one-stor}- frame  building  stand- 
ing at  the  corner  of  Main  and  State  streets,  where  Seeger's  hall  now 
stands.  Present :  the  Hon.  Jesse  B.  Thomas,  jr.,  judge  of  the  First 
Judicial  Circuit;  Lemon  Plaster,  sheriff;  and  there  being  no  Circuit 
Clerk  elect,  N.  B.  Thompson  was  appointed  clerk  by  the  judge. 

The  grand  iurv  at  that  time  consisted  of  Thomas  Wilbourn,  fore- 
man,  Isaac  Spence,  Augustus  Knapp,  James  H.  Blackman,  Alexan- 
der Huffman,  Robert  Gaines,  Richard  Graves,  William  Shoopman, 
Benjamin  Stribling,  John  Daniels,  Phineas  Underwood,  Ephraim 
Moseley,  John  Robinson,  Elijah  Carver,  .John  P.  Dick,  William  Mc- 
Aule}',  Marcus  Chandler,  Heniy  S.  Ingalls,  Jeremiah  Bowen,  Amos 
Hager,  and  Jeremiah  Northern. 

There  was  no  petit  jury  at  this  term,  but  talismen  were  drawn  as 
thev  were  wanted. 


40  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTT. 

At  the  May  term,  1838,  Nathan  alias  Nathaniel  Graves  was  in- 
dicted for  the  murder  of  an  eastern  man  named  Fowle,  which  murder 
took  place  at  what  was  known  as  Miller  McLane's  grocery,  kept  in  a 
log  house  which  stood  on  the  present  site  of  Philadelphia.  Fowle 
and  Alec  Beard  were  sitting  down  on  a  log  outside  the  grocery, 
talking  in  a  friendl}'  manner.  There  was  quite  a  number  of  persons 
around.  Graves  and  Richard  McDonald  came  riding  up  on  horseback 
from  different  directions  about  the  same  time.  Graves  dismounted, 
leading  his  horse  toward  Fowle,  drew  a  pistol  and  shot  and  killed 
him.  He  was  so  near  Fowle  that  the  fire  burned  his  clothes.  The 
men  standing  around  were  so  surprised  that  they  stood  still  while 
Graves  mounted  his  horse  and  started  to  ride  awa}-.  At  this  time 
McDonald  cried  out,  "Men,  why  don't  you  arrest  him?"  and  rode 
after  him.  When  Graves  saw  that  McDonald  was  about  to  catch 
him,  he  drew  a  knife  and  turned  around.  McDonald  caught  him  by 
the  throat  and  choked  him  till  he  surrendered,  but  was  himself  badly, 
almost  fatal!}',  wounded  in  the  struggle.  Graves  took  a  change  of 
venue  to  Green  County,  where,  breaking  jail,  he  escaped  to  Ken- 
tucky, where  he  died  a  natural  death. 

In  1839,  the  town  of  Arenzville  was  founded  b}-  Francis  Arenz. 

Thus  matters  stood  from  1837  to  1843.  during  which  time  there 
grew  a  feeling  of  dissatisfaction  among  the  people  of  the  southern 
half  of  the  townships  seventeen  and  other  parts  of  Morgan  County, 
with  Jacksonville ;  and  there  was  such  effort  made  to  dissever  their 
relations,  that  two  statutes  were  passed  b}-  the  Legislature  in  the 
session  of  1843,  which  provided  for  the  accomplishment  of  three 
objects :  one  of  which  was  that  a  vote  be  taken  whether  Morgan 
Count}'  should  be  divided  into  two  counties,  one  of  which  was  to 
remain  bv  the  name  of  Morgan  Countv,  and  the  other  bv  the  name 
of  Benton ;  second,  that  the  tier  of  half  townships,  known  as  seven- 
teen, or  the  "  three-mile  strip,"  on  the  north  side  of  Morgan  County, 
be  added  to  Cass  County ;  and  third,  that  Cass  County  should  vote 
for  the  selection  of  a  permanent  county  seat.  The  election  on  the 
first  proposition  was  held  in  ^Morgan  County  on  the  first  JMonday  in 
August,  1843,  and  resulted  unfavorably  to  the  creation  of  the  county 
of  Benton.  The  proposition  to  annex  the  ''three-mile  strip,"  in  the 
four  different  precincts  in  that  strip  of  territory,  stood  as  follows  : 

For  attaching  to  Cass.  Against  attaching. 

Arenzville 115'  5 

At  the  house  of  Henry  Price 70  14 

Princeton 41  35 

At  the  house  of  William  Berry 20  24 

Majority  for  attaching  the  "  three-mile  strip"  to  Cass.  168. 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH   OF    CASS   COUNTY.  41 


On  the  first  Monday  in  September.  1843,  there  was  an  election 
held  in  Cass  County,  in  which  the  "three-mile  strip"  took  part,  to 
determine  the  permanent  location  of  the  county  seat,  at  which  election 
the  vote  stood  as  follows  : 


Precincts. 

Virginia 

Richmond.. 

Monroe 

Beardstown. 


For  Beardstown. 

For 

Virginia 

2 

234 

21 

34 

17 

7 

413 

13 

Majorit}-  for  Beardstown,  165. 

The  Count}'  Seat  was  removed  to  Beardstown.  and  on  the  eighth 
day  of  February,  1845,  the  town  of  Beardstown  presented  the  County 
Commissioners'  Court  with  lot  one,  in  block  thirt^'-one,  in  that  town, 
with  the  Court  House  and  Jail  thereon  completed.  On  the  sixth  of 
March.  1846,  Reddick  Horn  sold  his  farm,  consisting  of  134  acres, 
in  sections  twenty-eight  and  twent^'-nine,  in  township  eighteen,  range 
eleven,  to  the  County  of  Cass,  for  a  "  home  for  the  poor  of  the 
county,"  for  $1,500. 

By  the  breaking  out  of  the  Mormon.,  war,  in  1845,  Beardstown 
again  became  the  rendezvous  for  the  State  forces  called  out  to  coerce     [\ 
into  obedience  to  our  State  laws  that  peculiar  people.     The  troops 
were  under  the  command  of  Brigadier-General  John  J.  Hardin,  of    ]/ 
Jacksonville,  Illinois. 

The  town  of  Chandlerville  was  begun  in  1848.  by  Dr.  Charles 
Chandler. 

From  1850  to  1852,  Cass  County  was  infested  by  horse  thieves, 
who  resided  in  the  county,  some  half  dozen  of  which  were  arrested 
in  the  latter  year,  and  brought  before  a  magistrate  for  examination. 
One  of  the  number  was  a  large,  powerful,  good-looking  young 
Hungarian,  named  Eugene  Honorius.  I  was  prosecuting  the  case, 
and  felt  satisfied  from  what  I  could  learn,  that  he  had  no  heart  in  that 
nefarious  business,  but  was  induced  to  stay  with  the  gang  out  of 
love  for  the  sister  of  one  of  them.  Not  having  sufficient  testimony, 
I  pressed  him  into  the  service  as  witness,  and  by  a  rigid  examination, 
extorted  all  the  necessaiy  facts  from  him  sufficient  to  hold  the  rest  of 
the  gang,  who  were  committed  to  jail. 

Before  the  sitting  of  the  Circuit  Court,  however,  they  all  broke 
jail,  and  fled  to  Kansas  :  from  whence  tlie  girl  to  whom  Honorius 
was  attached,  wrote  back  to  a  friend  the  statement :  That  by  an 
arrangement  with  the  gang,  after  they  had  escaped  from  jail,  one 
Suudav  she  asked  the  Hungarian  to  so  to  a  reliijious  meeting  with 


42  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS   COUNTY. 

her,  down  on  Indian  Creek.  That  they  started  down  on  horseback, 
but  that  she  decoyed  him  awaj'  down  on  Hog  Island,  where  the}-  met 
the  gang,  who  shot  and  killed  him  in  revenge  for  his  having  ^^ peached" 
on  them  ;  and  that  if  the  prosecutors  wanted  to  use  him  for  a  witness 
again  they  could  find  him  at  a  certain  place  on  Hog  Island,  and 
designated  it. 

Upon  being  informed  of  this,  John  Craig  and  I  rode  down  there, 
and  at  the  place  designated  in  the  girl's  letter,  we  found  the  bones  of 
a  man,  evidently  about  the  large  size  of  Honorius,  but  so  much  torn 
to  iDieces  and  broken  by  animals,  that  we  could  find  but  three  whole 
bones,  the  two  thighs  and  the  jaw  bone,  which  I  have  yet  in  my 
possession.  The  perpetrators  were  never  retaken,  but  the  county  was 
not  troubled  with  horse-thieves  for  a  long  time  afterwards. 

B3'  virtue  of  the  State  Constitution  of  1848,  a  statute  was  passed 
by  the  legislature  of  1849,  abolishing  the  County  Commissioners' 
Court,  and  the  office  of  Probate  Justice  of  the  Peace,  and  creating 
instead  the  Count}'  Court,  consisting  of  one  judge  and  two 
associate  justices  of  the  peace. 

The  first  court  elected  under  the  new  law  was  :  James  Shaw,  judge  ; 
Wm.  Ta^-lor  and  Thomas  Plaster,  associates. 

At  the  same  session  an  act  was  passed  authorizing  counties  to 
adopt  township  organization,  if  a  majority  of  the  citizens  should 
favor  it.  An  effort  was  made  at  that  time,  and  several  others  by  a 
vote  of  the  people  have  been  made  since,  but  have  failed ;  the  people 
in  every  instance  preferring  to  remain  under  the  old  form  of  organi- 
zation. 

In  the  same  year,  1849,  Beardstown  was  incorporated  as  a  city, 
with  the  same  charter  as  those  of  Springfield  and  Quincy.  In  this 
3-ear  also  occun-ed  the  third  election  for  location  of  the  County  Seat, 
which  was  decided  in  favor  of  Beardstown.  Another  election  was 
had  in  1857,  and  another  in  1868,  for  the  same  purpose,  but  the 
County  Seat  still  remained  at  Beardstown.  Another  election  was 
held  in  1S72,  under  the  Constitution  of  1870,  and  a  new  general 
statute  governing  re-location  of  county  seats.  The  history  of  this 
last  election  and  its  results  is  too  fresh  in  the  memory  of  my  hearers 
to  need  repeating  now. 

The  first  census  taken  after  Cass  County  was  formed,  was  in  1840  ; 
it  then  had  a  total  population  of  2,981.  In  1850,  it  had  7,253  ;  in 
1860,  11,325;  in  1870,  11.580. 


44  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTi', 


COUNTY   COMMISSIONEKS.   CASS  COUNTY— CoJliiWMed. 

James  Shsi\Y,,Judcie. 

Thomas  Plaster,  Associate. 

Jacob  Ward,  Associate Elected  May  19,  1851. 

John  A.  Areiiz.  Judge   "| 

Isaac  Eplev.  Associate ^-Elected  November,  1S53. 

Sylvester  Paddock J 

John  A.  Arenz.  Judge. 

Sylvester  Paddock.  Associate. 

James  M.  Shoi-t,  Associate Elected  November.  1854. 

H.  C.  Havekluft,  Judge -^ 

"VVm,  McHenry,  Associate.. ..  )>Elected  November.  1857. 
G.  W.  Shawen,  Associate J 

F.  H.  Rearick,  Judge Elected  November,  1861. 

Wm.  McHenry,  Associate. 

G.  W.  Shawen,  Associate. 

John  A.  Arenz,  Judge -^ 

Jennings  G.  Mathis,  Associate  ^Elected  November,  1865. 
Samuel  Smith,  Associate J 

Alexander  Huffman,  Judge. --^ 

Andrew  Struble,  Associate. ..  ^Elected  November,  1869. 

Jepthah  Plaster,  Associate. ..  J 

F.  H.  Eearick.  Judge Elected  February  24.  1872. 

Andrew  Struble,  Associate. 
Jepthah  Plaster,  Associate. 

John  W.  Savage,  Judge Elected  November.  1873. 

William  Campbell -i 

John  H.  Melone }■  Commissioners.     Elected  Nov..  1873. 

Robert  Fielden J 

William  Campbell. 

Jolm  M.  Melone. 

Luke  Dunn Elected  November.  1875. 


PROBATE  JUSTICES— 1837   TO   1849. 

John  P.  Wilbourne Elected  August  7.  1837. 


Joshua  P.  Crow 

Alexander  Huffn)ann. 

H.  E.  Dummer 

Hulett  Clark 

H.  E.  Dummer 


1839. 

"  184-2. 

1843. 

1847. 

May  13.      1849. 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY.  45 


SIIEKIFFS. 

Lemon  Plasters  Elected  August  7,  1837. 

John  Savage -  "  1841. 

Joseph  M.  McLean "  ''  1848. 

J.  B.  Fulks •'    November,  18.50. 

"William  Pitner "  "  1852. 

James  Taylor "  "  1854. 

James  A.  Dick "  "  1856. 

Francis  H.  Rearick ''  "  1858. 

James  Taylor ^'  "  I860. 

Charles  E.  Yeck "  "  1862. 

James  A.  Dick "  ''  1864. 

Charles  E.  Yeck "  "  1866. 

Thomas  Chapman '•  "  1868. 

Horace  Cowan "  "  1870. 

George  Volkmar "  '•  1872. 

William  Epler '•  ''  1874. 

I  have  now  extended  this  address  far  bej'ond  the  limits  which  cus- 
tom has  assigned  to  Fourth  of  July  orations,  and  must  soon  close. 
It  has  been  usual  on  our  national  birth-da}-  for  the  orator  to  take  a 
survey  of  our  past  histor}',  and  awake  the  enthusiasm  of  his  hearers 
by  referring  to  the  dark  and  bloody  days  of  the  revolution  of  1776.  So 
often  have  our  hearts  expanded  at  the  relation  of  the  glorious  deeds  of 
our  fathers  east  of  the  Appalachian  chain,  that  I  fear  we  have  allowed 
ourselves  to  forget  the  brilliant  exploits  of  George  Rogers  Clark  and  his 
daring  followers,  who  made  the  most  extraordinary  march  and  impor- 
tant conquest  of  the  war,  and  who,  just  ninety-eight  years  ago  to-day, 
planted  the  American  flag  upon  the  battlements  of  Kaskaskia,  and 
declared  the  Illinois  countr}'  free  from  Great  Britain.  We  have  also 
allowed  ourselves  to  think  too  little  of  that  band  of  patriots,  the 
pioneers  of  the  great  Mississippi  Valley.  It  was  that  we,  their  pos- 
terity, might  enjoy  the  blessings  which  now  surround  us,  that  they 
left  their  comfortable  homes  in  the  far  East  and  South,  and  settled 
the  wild  prairies  and  Avoodlands  of  Illinois,  and  caused  them  to 
blossom  with  the  rose  and  flow  with  milk  and  honej'.  And  perhaps, 
too,  in  our  enthusiasm  for  the  heroes  of  the  last  centur}',  those  for 
whom  and  in  whose  memory  Independence  Day  as  a  national  feast- 
day  was  originally  inaugurated,  we  have,  through  custom,  neglected 
to  paj'  a  passiuii  tribute  to  the  heroes  of  later  times.  This  ought 
not  to  be.  Our  own  eyes  have  witnessed  our  country  in  the  throes  of 
a  revolution,  far  greater,  far  grander,  more  fearful,  more  terrible, 
than  that  of  1776,  which  we  are  more  particularly  called  upon  to 
celebrate  to-day. 


46  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY. 

Fifteen  3-ears  ago,  a  cloud,  deep  and  dark  and  impenetrable, 
settled  down  upon  our  beloved  country.  It  was  that  cloud  that  had 
been  feared  by  Webster,  and  Jackson,  and  Clay,  and  a  host  of  their 
compatriots.  No  statesman  was  wise  enough  to  see  through  the 
gloom.  But  the  country,  in  its  agony,  called  upon  its  citizen-soldiery 
for  protection ;  and  the  call  was  not  in  vain.  From  everv  villao-e 
and  hamlet ;  j'ea,  from  almost  every  farm-house  in  Cass  County,  men 
sprang  to  the  rescue,  as  lions  do  when  then-  young  is  threatened  with 
danger. 

Upon  every  field  between  the  Ohio  and  the  Gulf,  and  from  where 
the  Blue  Ridge  steps  his  feet  upon  the  savannas  of  the  South,  away 
westward  to  where  the  Arkansas  grasps  the  prairies  of  the  West  in 
his  watery  fingers,  the  heroes  of  Cass  County  have  borne  aloft  the 
Stars  and  Stripes ;  and  many  of  them  are  now  at  rest,  the  long 
southern  grass  waving  upon  the  level  smface  above  them,  and  the 
head-boards  which  were  placed  over  them  by  their  departing  comrades 
have  long  since  mingled  with  the  dust. 

But  the  time  will  come — it  must  come,  fellow-citizens — when  the 
history  of  Cass  County  will  not  be  compressed  into  a  Fourth  of  July 
oration,  but  will  be  enlarged  into  the  dignity  of  a  volume,  and  on  its 
pages  will  be  transcribed  the  name  of  every  man  who  sacrificed  him- 
self for  the  good  of  his  countiy,  whether  he  fell  upon  the  bloody 
field,  or  languished  in  the  dreary  hospital,  or.  with  his  honored  scars 
upon  him,  has  lived  to  mingle  in  the  avocations  of  civil  life. 

I  have  now  told  you,  in  so  comparatively  short  a  time,  what  I  can 
condense  of  the  half  century's  historj*  of  what  is  now  Cass  County, 
four-fifths  of  which  period  has  passed  under  m}"  own  personal  obser- 
vation. How  strange  that  a  man  should  see  the  birth  and  infancy, 
and  live  on  through  the  vouth  to  the  maturitv  of  a  great  State  I  How 
passing  strange  that  the  pioneer  of  the  prairie  and  the  forest  should 
witness  all  the  m3-steries  of  the  building — the  substructure  and  the 
superstructui'e  ;  should  with  his  own  hands  help,  not  only  to  lay  the 
foundation  rocks  deep  in  the  soil,  but  also  to  bear  up  the  pillai-s  of 
strength,  and  assist  in  rearing  upon  them  the  dome  and  pinnacle  of 
an  Empire  State !  But  so  it  is.  In  other  countries,  generations 
afi  r  generations  pass  away,  and  witness  no  perceptible  change  in 
their  communities  ;  but  here,  men  have  passed  their  early  lives  in  log 
cabins,  who  now  rest  from  their  labors  in  rosewood  beds  enshrined 
in  marble. 

And  what  maj'  we  learn  bj'  to-day's  lesson?  It  is  this,  if  no  other : 
that  whatever  condition  in  life  circumstances  may  place  us  in.  to  act 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY.  47 

well  our  part,  and  then  we  cannot  fail  to  become  important  factors  in 
the  making- up  of  the  State  in  which  we  live.  Nations  are  but  a  con- 
glomerate of  communities,  and  communities  of  individuals  ;  and  the 
State  looks  to  ever}'  man  to  do  his  duty. 

And  now,  finally,  as  this  is  a  county  festival,  the  people  of  which 
are  assembled  together  to  celebrate  this,  the  centennial,  anniversarj' 
of  our  countrj-'s  independence,  let  us  ask  ourselves  this  question : 
Has  Cass  Count}-,  during  the  half  century  of  its  histoiy,  done  its 
dutv  to  the  State  and  nation  ;  its  dutv  to  God  and  the  great  world  of 
humanitv  outside  of  it :  its  dutv  to  itself  and  to  the  future  generations 
that  are  to  succeed  us  ? 

And,  in  response,  I  believe  we  can  lay  our  hands  upon  our  hearts, 
and  our  consciences  will  tell  us  that  this  county,  as  a  community, 
has  done  its  duty ;  and  results  show  it.  There  is  probabh'  as  much 
of  wealth,  intelligence  and  happiness  in  it,  present  and  prospective, 
as  in  any  rural  district  of  its  size  and  population  in  this  great 
valley.  The  patriotism  of  its  people  and  the  integrit}'  of  its  magis- 
tracy' stand  unimpeached.  No  duty  to  the  nation  nor  to  humanity 
has  been  left  unperformed.  And  the  generation  now  passing  away 
can  say  to  the  one  just  stepping  upon  the  platform :  Go  and  do  like- 
wise, and  your  reward  shall  be  equal,  and  we  trust  even  an  hundred- 
fold more  abundant. 


^:<«S3rSri 


The  following  I  have  collected  from  various  sources  as  well   as 
largely  from  my  own  observation. 

J.  HENRY  SHAW. 


1640 — Twenty  years  after  the  settlement  of  Plymouth  Colony,  the 
Illinois  River  was  first  navigated  b}*  white  men  in  pirogues  and  birch 
canoes,  and  Illinois  was  colonized  by  Frenchmen,  and  added  to  the 
French  Dominion.         ' 

1673 — Marquette  and  Joliet  with  five  followers  crossed  Wisconsin 
in  canoes  to  the  Mississippi   River,    down  that  stream  and  up  the 


48  HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS   COUNTY. 


Illinois  to  Lake  Miciiigan,  the  point  of  their  departure,  the  entire 
route  being  at  that  time,  and  for  a  hundred  j'ears  later,  navigable  for 
pirogues  and  canoes.  The  route  being  via  Green  Ba\-,  and  the 
Wisconsin,  Mississippi,  Illinois,  Kankakee  and  St.  Joseph  Rivers. 
There  was  another  navigable  connection,  during  the  whole  of  that 
period,  between  the  Illinois  and  Lake  Michigan,  b}'  means  of  the 
DesPlaines  and  Chicago  Rivers,  which  men  now  alive  have  traveled 
in  pirogues,  all  the  way. 

1670,  Dec. — The  Illinois,  Kankakee  and  St.  Joseph  route  was 
navigated  by  La  Salle  and  thirtj'-three  followers. 

16S1,  Aug — Illinois,  Kankakee  and  St.  Joseph  route  again  navi- 
gated by  La  Salle  and  party. 

1682 — La  Salle  and  party  navigated  the  waters  from  Lake 
Michigan,  across  Wisconsin,  down  the  Mississippi,  up  the  Illinois, 
Kankakee  and  St.  Joseph  to  the  Lake.  At  that  time  Beardstown 
was  upon  an  island.  The  water  surrounding  it  the  year  round,  per- 
manently. 

1687,  Sept. — The  Illinois,  Kankakee  and  St.  Joseph  route  navi- 
gated by  seven  Frenchmen,  mutineers  and  murderers  of  La  Salle,  on 
their  way  from  Arkansas  to  Lake  Michigan. 

1693 — Gravier  and  his  followers  settled  at  Kaskaskia,  Cahokia 
and  Peoria,  and  from  this  time  for  fifty  years  the  Illinois  was 
continually  navigated  by  canoes,  pirogues,  and  other  small  boats. 

1725 — The  first  of  the  four  greatest  floods  of  the  Western  rivers. 

1750 — Vivier  says  that  forty  vessels  from  the  Illinois  River  landed 
at  New  Orleans,  laden  with  lumber,  brick,  beef,  tallow,  cotton, 
m3-rtle,  wax,  leather,  tobacco,  lead,  iron,  copper,  wild  game,  tar, 
skins,  furs,  pork,  bears'  oil,  flour  and  other  articles  of  produce. 

From  this  time  on  for  man}'  ^-ears,  the  principal  part  of  the 
produce  received  at  New  Orleans  was  shipped  from  the  Illinois  River. 

1763 — LaClede  founded  St.  Louis,  which  gave  a  new  impetus  to 
commerce  in  the  Illinois  River,  it  being  a  nearer  market.  At  this 
time  the  Illinois  countr}'  was  ceded  by  France  to  Great  Britain,  which 
closed  the  French  war. 

1772 — Second  great  flood. 

1778 — Illinois  was  conquered  and  taken  from  Great  Britain  bj' 
Virginia,  and  was  added  to  that  State,  and  named  Illinois  County. 

1785 — A  great  flood  on  the  Illinois  and  all  Western  Rivers,  the 
third  highest  ever  known. 

1786 — Another  great  flood.  The  Ohio  rose  fifty-nine  feet  above 
low  water  mark.  The  stage  of  water  in  the  Illinois  River  is  not 
recorded  that  I  can  find,  but  known  to  be  very  high. 


HISTORICAL   SKETCH   OF   CASS   COUNTY.  49 


1792 — Another  great  flood.  The  Ohio  rose  sixtj^-three  feet  above 
low  water  mark.     Stage  of  the  Illinois  not  recorded,  but  very  high. 

1800 — The  population  of  Illinois,  on  the  borders  of  its  rivers, 
3,000. 

1810 — Great  flood  in  all  the  Western  rivers.  The  Ohio  at  Titts- 
burg  higher  than  ever  before  known.  Stage  of  the  Illinois  not 
recorded.  Steamer  "Orleans,"  the  first  on  the  Western  rivers,  built. 

1811 — On  the  IGth  day  of  December  began  the  most  remarkable 
phenomena  that  ever  occurred  in  North  America :  an  earthquake,  the 
continued  shocks  of  which  lasted  for  the  space  of  three  months,  a 
longer  period  than  ever  before  known  ;  the  etfects  of  which  were  felt 
in  Illinois,  Missouri,  Tennessee,  Kentucky  and  Arkansas,  the  focus 
of  which  seemed  to  be  about  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio.  It  made  great 
commotion  in  tlie  rivers  the  banks  of  which  caved  in  by  whole  acres 
at  a  time.  Large  islands  disappeared  under  the  waters.  The  town 
of  New  Madrid,  Missouri,  was  destroyed,  and  the  river  now  runs 
over  part  of  its  former  site.  The  balance  of  it  is  lower  by  twenty- 
five  feet  than  it  was  before.  The  bed  of  the  river  just  below  the 
mouth  of  tlie  Ohio  raised  up  like  a  bow  and  turned  up  stream,  until 
its  pent-up  waters  with  accunuilated  force  swept  over  the  barrier  and 
poured  into  the  craters  and  fissures  of  the  ground,  when  they  were 
again  thrown  out  in  huge  streams  higher  than  the  trees. 

The  river  was  navigated  at  that  time  by  many  flat-boats  from  the 
Illinois,  Upper  Mississipi)i  and  Ohio  Rivers,  some  of  which  were 
swallowed  up  in  the  great  chasms  of  the  river.  There  was  much  loss 
of  life  and  property.  Fortunately  at  that  time  the  country  was 
sparsely  settled  ;   for  no  building  could  have  withstood  its  fury. 

Tills  calamity  cheeked  the  cojumeree  of  the  Illinois  River,  as 
indeed  also  the  general  prosperity  of  the  Western  States.  All  immi- 
gration stopped,  and  the  impression  became  general  in  the  Eastern 
and  Middle  States,  that  Illinois  and  Missouri  were  so  subject  to 
earthquakes,  as  to  be  forever  unsafe  as  a  place  of  habitation.  But  in 
a  few  years  this  impression  with  its  attendant  fears  wore  away,  and 
immigration  again  was  resumed. 

There  iiave  JteiMi  but  two  earthquakes  in  Illinois  since  that  lime, 
one  in  1840  and  tiie  other  in  lS(;-2  ;  both  slight  shocks  ;  the  one  in 
1840,  however,  doing  some  little  damage  to  brick  buildings  and 
(•himne3S. 

1815 — The  steamer  "  Enterprise  "  built,  and  run  from  New  Orleans 
to  Louisville,  the  first  steamboat  which  ever  run  up  stream  in  the 
Western  rivers.  The  "  Orleans  "  was  able  only  to  nmdown  stream,  and 


•  50  niSToniCAL  sketch  of  cass  county. 


had  to  be  cordellcil  back.  From  181.5,  stcamboatfi  multiplied  ver}-  fast, 
and  the  pirates,  who  in  large  numbers  had  infested  the  Western 
rivers,  began  to  disapi^ear,  and  finall}-  ceased  their  depredations 
altogether. 

1820,  June  2 — The  Illinois  and  Mississippi  were  higher  than  before 
known  for  fort}'  A'ears.  The  river  was  up  to  Main  Street,  in  St. 
Louis,  which  caused  great  destruction  of  property. 

1827 — Steamer  "Mechanic,"  John  S.  Clark,  captain,  first  steam- 
boat ever  up  the  Illinois  River. 

1828 — Another  great  flood,  supposed  to  be  as  great  as  that  of 
1792. 

1829 — Beardstown  was  foimded  b}'  Thomas  Beard. 

1830-31 — The  great  snow,  six  feet  deep. 

1836 — The  Illinois  and  Mississippi  again  flooded.  The  water  at 
St.  Louis  was  fiftj'-four  feet  above  low  water  mark,  being  nine  feet 
ten  inches  higher  than  in  1810. 

1S37 — Steamer  "Wave"  burned  near  Peru.  One  man  lost,  a 
passenger,  who  was  drowned. 

1844 — This  was  the  greatest  flood  on  record  in  this  or  anv  other 
country,  since  the  days  of  Noah.  Every  river  west  of  the  Alle- 
ghauies  and  north  of  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  rose  simultaneously,  and 
the  channel  of  the  Mississippi  was  unable  to  pass  out  the  vast  amount 
of  water  which  came  into  it.  Four  hundred  human  beings,  and  a 
great  number  of  horses,  cattle  and  other  stock  lost  their  lives. 

The  water  was  one  foot  deep  on  Main  Sti-eet,  in  Beardstown,  and 
this  city  again  became  an  island,  with  ten  feet  depth  of  water  between 
it  and  the  bluffs.  The  water  rose  to  a  level  with  the  second  story 
windows  on  Front  Street,  St.  Louis.  A  great  many  towns  were 
inundated  and  houses  washed  awa}'. 

The  four  gi-eatcst  floods  on  the  Mississippi  River  and  its  tri- 
butaries, within  the  last  150  years,  are  those  of  1725,  1772,  1785  and 
1844. 

1848 — "Planter"  exploded  and  burned  at  Jones'  Ferry  on  the 
Illinois  River.  Five  persons  were  killed  and  many  scalded,  some  of 
whom  afterward  died.  The  captain  escaped  harm,  but  was  shortly 
afterward  killed  by  the  explosion  of  the  "  Saluda,"  on  the  Missouri 
River. 

1849 — Another  flood  this  3'ear.  T\\q  water  was  on  a  level  with 
Main  Street,  in  Beardstown,  and  again  it  became  an  island.  The 
people  on  the  lower  Mississippi  suflered  more  than  in  1844,  on 
account  of  crevasses,  their  losses  amounting  to  800,000,000.     The 


/ 


UISTORICAL    SKETCU    OF    CASS    COUNTY,  51 

water  was  ten  feet  deep  in  some  of  the  streets  of  New  Orleans.  At 
this  time,  and  for  several  years  afterward,  steamboating  on  the  Illi- 
nois River  arrived  at  the  zenith  of  its  glory  and  prosperity.  Dnring 
these  years  it  boasted  the  finest  vessels  which  ever  iloated  on  its 
waters ;  among  which  were  the  Die  Vernon,  Prairie  State,  Cataract, 
Garden  City,  Ocean  Wave,  Belle  Gonld,  Polar  Star,  and  many  others  ; 
they  were  trnly  floating  palaces,  and  the  travel  was  npon  the  river 
and  canal  cxclnsiveh',  there  being  no  railroad  convenient  for  that 
class  of  travelers.  On  May  17th  of  this  year,  occurred  the  great 
conflagration  in  St.  Louis,  by  which  several  whole  blocks  of  buildings 
and  twenty-three  steamboats  were  burned,  among  which  were  the 
Prairie  State  and  Acadia,  Illinois  River  packets. 

I80O — Financier,  an  Illinois  River  packet,  exploded  at  Alton. 
Seven  lives  lost. 

1851 — August  20,  Dacotah  exploded  at  Peoria  ;  eleven  lives  lost. 
November  27,  Die  Vernon  and  Archer  collided  three  miles  above  the 
mouth  of  the  Illinois  River  ;  the  Archer  sank  immediately  ;  twenty- 
three  persons  were  drowned,  whose  names  were  known,  also  quite  a 
number  on  deck,  whose  names  were  unknown.  In  this  3X'ar  there 
were  two  floods,  the  two  continuing  so  long  as  to  cause  more  damage 
than  any  former  one.  The  water  was  highest  on  the  11th  of  June, 
when  it  was  four  feet  nine  inches  lower  than  the  high  water  mark  of 
1844. 

1852 — Prairie  State  No.  2  exploded  April  25th,  at  Pekin  ;  twenty 
lives  lost.  In  April,  the  Illinois  was  ver^^  high,  but  no  unusual  dam- 
age was  done.  The  Ohio  rose  as  high  as  in  1832,  doing  an  immense 
injur}^  to  property. 

1850 — Illinois  River  on  a  level  with  Main  Street,  running  over  at 
one  place,  Lafayette  Street.  INIarch  22,  Tropic  and  Challenge  first 
boats  up.     Ocean  Spray  burned.     December  14,  River  closed. 

In  1852  and  185G,  during  the  high  water,  first-class  steamboats 
went  entirely  around  lieardstown  witliout  any  difficulty. 

1857 — Februar}'  18,  Brazil  first  boat  up.  River  moderate.  No- 
vember 19,  River  closed.  December  1,  Opened  and  remained  navi- 
gable until  February  19,  when  it  closed. 

1858 — March  11,  River  opened;  Adriatic  first  f)oat  up.  River 
dill  not  close  again.  Prairie  State  collapsed  a  flue  ;  one  man  killed. 
Tliis  spring  the  river  very  high,  being  nearly  as  high  as  in  1844. 
The  water  crossed  over  Main  Street,  and  all  the  lower  parts  covered. 
The  city  again  an  island,  and  a  first-class  steamer,  loaded  with  pas- 
sengers, went  around  it. 


52  HISTOUICAL    SKETCH    OF    CASS    COUNTY. 


1859 — January  21,  River  closed  for  the  first  time.  Open  to  St. 
Louis  on  the  28th.  February'  .3,  Closed  again.  February  16,  F.  X. 
Aubr}'  first  boat  up.    December  15,  Closed. 

1800 — February  21 ,  Polar  Star  first  ])oat  up.  Belle  Peoria  burned. 
November  24,  River  closed.  December  7,  Sam.  Young  came  up. 
December  13,  River  closed.  January  1,  Deep  snow  ;  very  cold;  rail- 
roads generally  blocked  up  ;  mails  stopped,  and  traveling  suspended 
two  weeks. 

1861 — February  16,  Polar  Star  first  boat  up.  Still  very  cold  ; 
some  ice  running.  February  22,  Minnesota  Belle  came  up.  Decem- 
ber 20,  River  closed. 

1862 — March  12,  Minnesota  Belle  first  boat  up.  December  0, 
River  over  the  Schuyler  Bottom  lands,  and  closed.  December  r2th. 
River  open.     La  Salle  first  boat  up. 

1863 — February  3,  River  closed  until  February  loth.  Lacon  first 
boat  down.     December  9th,  River  closed. 

1864 — February  2,  Schuyler  first  boat  u[).  Fel)ruary  16th,  River 
closed.  Februar}^  22,  River  open.  From  September  1  until  October 
13,  only  two  feet  of  water  in  channel,  and  navigation  suspended. 
December  9,  River  closed. 

1805 — February  20,  City  of  Pekin  first  boat  up.  December  12, 
River  closed.  December  21,  Thermometer  14°  below  0,  Fahrenheit. 
December  23,  14°  below. 

1866 — January  21,|Six  o'clock  1'.  M.,  thermometer  4°  above,  with 
heavy  rain,  freezing  as  it  fell,  and  heav}'  thunder  and  lightning,  mer- 
cury falling  rapidly  meantime,  until  nine  o'clock  P.  M.  it  stood  8° 
below,  where  it  stood  until  morning.  Thunder  and  lightning  lasted 
one  hour,  say  until  seven  o'clock  P.  M.  It  will  require  a  skillful 
meteorologist  to  explain  this  phenomena.  February  15th,  thermom- 
eter 26°  below  at  Beardstown,  which  was  the  coldest  day  ever  known 
in  this  country.  In  the  northern  counties  of  this  State  it  ranged 
from  30  to  40°  below.  February  16,  thermometer  16°  below.  March 
1,  Schuyler  first  boat  up  ;  river  over  bottom  lands.  Steamer  Farj^- 
gut  collided  with  the  Meredosia  bridge,  wherel)y  the  canal  boat  Ajax, 
with  entire  cargo,  was  lost,  and  John  C^uigg  drowned.  The  Ajax 
was  in  tow  of  the  Farragut.  March  17,  Thermometer  7°  above,  but 
river  remained  oi)en.  Fall  (juitc  warm  and  pleasant  until  December 
11  ;  turned  cold,  mercury  8°  above.  December  12,  4°  above,  and  ice 
running  thin.  Illinois  run  down  in  the  morning,  cutting  her  way 
through.  Same  day  river  got  clear  of  ice  and  Farrugut  went  down. 
December  15,  Snowed  six  inches  ;  weather  moderate  ;  26°  above,  but 


HISTORICAL    SKETCH    OF   CASS    COUNTY.  53 

ice  running  ;  17th,  2°  below  ;  10th,  river  opened  and  boats  run  until 
Ciiristnias  ;  25th,  ice  running  ;  and  26th,  river  closed,  2°  above. 

1867— February  Dth  and  10th,  Thermoinetel-  10'"  below.  March  8, 
Kiver  clear  of  ice  ;  Farragut  and  Gem  started  down.  Boats  run  all 
the  week.  JMarch  13,  Weather  turned  suddenly  cold,  6°  below,  ice 
running  ;  and  March  14,  River  closed.  March  20,  River  open  ;  water 
all  over  the  low  lands  and  within  three  feet  of  the  surface  of  Main 
Street,  Beardstown.  June  14,  Peoria  City's  last  trip  down;  low 
water  began.  July  20,  Illinois'  last  trii)  down.  August  8,  City  of 
Fekin's  last  trip  down.  Gem  collapsed  a  Hue  ;  two  men  killed.  Sep- 
tember 18,  Lancaster's  last  trip  down.  December  1,  Lacon's  last 
trip  down.     December  5,  Beardstown's  last  trip  u[).     River  closed. 

1868 — March  4th,  River  open  ;  Schuyler  first  boat  up.  March  5, 
City  of  Pekin  u}).  March  'J,  Beardstown  up.  March  10,  Illinois  up. 
July  7,  Low  water  began  ;  Scliiiyler's  last  trip  down.  July  13,  Illi- 
nois'last  trip  down.  November  15,  River  in  good  stage;  Illinois 
l)egan  regular  trips.  December  4,  Snow  six  inches  ;  thermometer 
33°  above.  Belle  Pike  burst  a  cylinder  ;  one  life  lost,  one  wounded. 
December  9,  4°  below  ;  river  closed.  Illinois  last  boat  up.  Decem- 
ber 12,  Mercury  10°  below.  The  second  week  in  this  mouth  was  the 
coldest  week  ever  experienced  in  this  State,  the  mercury  26°  below, 
Fahrenheit. 

1869 — January  1 ,  Weather  warm.  .Tanuary  6,  River  opened  ;  Pekiu 
up.  April  2,  River  moderately  high,  and  ferr^'-boat  ran  to  Frederick. 
River  continued  gradually  to  rise  until  about  August  3,  when  it 
reached  its  highest,  lu'ing  on  State  Street,  in  Beardstown,  within  one 
foot  of  the  leviil  of  Main  Street.  The  rainiest  season  ever  known. 
River  open  to  navigation  until  January  7,  1870. 

1871 — November  11,  River  closed,  and  remained  closed  all  winter. 

1873 — January  28,  Coldest  night  ever  known  in  this  State. 
Earl}'  in  the  morning  the  thermometer  stood  40°  below  zero,  Fahren- 
heit.    Mercur}'  congealed.     Snow  16  inches  deep. 


IJeardstown  was  selected  as  the  site  for  the  celebration  of  the  Cen- 
tennial in  Cass  Count}'.  The  weather  was  inauspicious  on  the  morn- 
ing of  tlie  Fourth,  and  doubtless  lessened  the  attendance  on  the  occa- 
sion. Towards  mid-day,  however,  the  storm  passed  away,  and  the 
Public  Park,  in  which  the  prominent  features  of  the  day  were  to  take 
place,  soon  began  to  fill.  Judge  Savage^  of  Virginia,  was  elected  to 
the  Chair.  A.  M.  Brownlee,  of  Virginia,  read  the  Declaration  of  Inde- 
pendence ;  and  J.  Henry  Shaw,  of  Beardstown,  delivered  the  oration. 
Schneider's  Band  filled  the  orchestra W  the  stand,  and  the  Beardstown 
Glee  Club  occupied  a  temporary  platform  on  its  right.  On  the  stand 
were  Judge  Savage,  Judge  Emmons;  Robert  Hall,  marshal  of  the 
day  ;  Judge  Arenz,  Dr.  Ehrhardt ;  Mr.  Oetgen,  Sr.,  of  Blulf  Springs  ; 
Mayor  of  Beardstown  ;  Mr;  Petefish,  of  Virginia  ;  Rev.  R.  Knoll,  N. 
Parsons  ;  Chas.  Robinson,  of  Arcnzville  ;  Henry  McKinnel ;  J.  S. 
Nicholson,,  of  the  Central  lUinoian;  A.  M.  Brownlee,  of  the  Gazelle; 
Dr.  Littlefield ;  J.  S.  Harper,  of  the  Ashland  Eayle;  George  Kuhl ; 
Rev.  J.  H.  Shay,  of  the  Cass  Count)/  Messenger;  Cyrus  Loomis,  H. 
B.  DeSoUar,  D.  M.  Irwin,  J.  Henry  Shaw,  John  Ilusted,  Henry 
Durham,  Hon.  William  Epler,  Chris.  Crum,  Rev.  L.  F.  Grassow, 
Milton  Logan,  John  Milt.  Epler,  J.  W.  Lawson,  and  others. 

All  passed  oil  with  grt^at  edat,  and  the  only  regret  was  that  the 
long-i)rotracted  shower  had  excluded  many  distant  citizens  of  tlu- 
county  from  participating 


'g- 


V